Gardai issue list of tips and tricks to stop burglars this winter

Burglaries are up four per cent on last year
Burglaries are up four per cent on last year

As the days get shorter, Gardai have issued lots of advice on how to make sure your home is less appealing to burglars this winter.

The Gardai's National Crime Prevention Unit launch the 'Do the Light Thing' campaign to reduce robberies in the home today at the Ploughing Championships.

The focus of the campaign is that most burglars target unoccupied houses and that during the winter, burglaries increase between the hours of 5pm and 10pm.

The advice is simple, leave your lights on.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said:

"Burglaries can happen at any time, on any day. However it is important to note that the number of residential burglaries that occur between the hours of 5pm and 10pm, fluctuate throughout the year; depending on the levels of darkness.

"For instance in November last year there was over twice as many residential burglaries between 5pm and 10pm, compared to the same time last June. 

"The darker evenings expose homes that are not well lit or appear unoccupied. Buildings that have the appearance of looking vacant are more vulnerable to burglary. 

"We want home owners to illuminate their homes to eliminate burglary. Security lighting can help reduce crime and act as an effective deterrent to burglars. Appropriate lighting will help make your home more visible to neighbours and passers-by, thereby increasing the likelihood of discovering unwanted intruders and trespassers. 

"Outside security lighting should be properly installed. Avoid the creation of shadowy, dark areas and position the light fitting out of reach. Aim for a uniform light level and direct the light beam appropriately. Consider your neighbours and avoid light pollution. 

"Use a timer switch to turn on lights and other appliances to create the impression that someone is at home. Before you go on holidays ask a neighbour, friend or family member to open and close curtains and remove post and deliveries if they haven’t already been cancelled. Every act you take to make your home look as it does when you are there, helps to deter the burglar. 

"Remember that whilst security lighting is effective, it is not a replacement for good physical security. Always lock doors and windows.

"In one in every five burglaries, the intruder has simply walked through an open door or climbed though an open window."

The Gardai also advise that you keep your keys in a secure place.

Last year, 200 sets of keys were fished out of homes through letterboxes or open windows after being left in easy reach of thieves.