This week I attened a meeting with the community policing unit and some of the other local Neighbourhood watch associations. The news on crime levels in the area is positive with a reduction in the last number of months over prior years and with a number of recent arrests in the area for burglary. That said, there was a noticable spike in burglaries in September as the evenings get darker and we are reminded to be vigilant.
There were three areas that we were reminded of in particular during the meeting that continue to provide opportunities to burglars:
It is dark earlier these evenings which means that it is frequently dark when we return from work, walks or other outlings. Houses in darkness provide an excellent clue to burglars that they are empty and they will not be disturbed. Consider using timer switches to have lights come on before it gets dark.
We are familiar with the calls to our doors offering to do gutters, gardens, paintinig and other jobs. The simple rule here should be – do not engage with tradespeople that you do not know or have not been directly recommended by a neighbour.
It opens people up to a direct risk of burglary, provides legitimate access to bogus trades to our area to check out houses and there is an additional risk of them extorting fees from vulnerable people in our community for unnecessary work.
The Gardai mentioned that multiple houses in one street in Roselawn were recently subjected to the latter in recent weeks.
Age Action Ireland have set up a scheme called Care and Repair which provides vetted tradespersons to do small jobs for persons over 65 years of age. This can be accessed locally through the Blanchardstown Area Partnership on 01 8066639.
We will add this to a local list of contacts on our website.
A number of other schemes have also put together a list of local tradespeople that have been recommended by neighbours and published them on their website. We are very open to doing this and would ask you to let us know if there are local tradespeople or businesses that:
· that you have personally used,
· that you would be willing to recommend to a neighbour and
- that you believe to be set up in a professional manner with appropriate insurance and qualifications
We are particularly interested in maintenance, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators, carpenters, gardening services and we will compile a list based on the feedback that we receive and make it available on the website. For this reason it might be good to check with the tradesperson to make sure that they are fine with this.
We will still advise people to make their own judgement but it should be a better starting place than answering the door to a stranger offering services.
We are used to receiving notes through the door for charity clothing collections. The Gardaí have advised that many of these collections are being carried out by bogus collectors that sell the clothes for profit. They may also use the collections as an excuse to scout areas for other activities.
Of course there are a number of genuine collections that also occur.
The advice is to support recognised charities only and to be particularly suspicious of flyers that include no contact details or just a mobile number for contact.
In the case of bogus collectors and suspicious tradespeople their advise is not to engage with them but to report details to the Revenue who have a team focused on investigating shadow economy activity. Details are available on http://www.revenue.ie/en/business/shadow-economy/reporting.html
- Our neighbourhood watch signage has arrived and is currently awaiting some paperwork from the community policing to be sent to Fingal County Council. We hope to have this resolved shortly.
- We had 10 homes take the locksmith security assessment in recent weeks. The feedback we have received to date from this process was positive.
- Fingal have said that they are due to trim some branches of trees on Auburn Avenue in the coming weeks to improve the quality of lighting in the area.
As always – keep a look out – especially at this time of year – and report anything suspicious to the Gardaí on 01 666700.