I hope that you are enjoying the summer – sunshine, clouds and rain.
I am sure that you will have noticed the roads are quieter as many of our neighbours are on holidays. Let’s make sure that they come home to a safe and secure house by keeping a close eye on suspicious vehicles, tradespeople, collectors and listening out for alarms.
Bogus trades are a particular concern this time of year as they use their presence to identify houses that are empty. If you see bins left out after they have been collected, kindly bring them back in to avoid advertising that a house is empty.
If you are going on holidays – leave a key with a trusted neighbour or friend and let other neighbours know who has this in case of emergency. Travel safe and be prepared to do the same for your neighbours on your return.
We had a good turnout for the talk from Sgt. Vincent Connolly last month. Thanks to Liam and Carmel and all for holding the fort while I was travelling and to Shivaun for taking notes to share with you all.
Some notes and suggestions below from the talk. Of course we do not want to live in a fortress take sensible suggestions from below that suit your needs.
- Most burglaries are opportunistic – open cars, bicycles left unlocked, doors and windows left open (particularly in the hot weather) – use of tools from your shed if unlocked to assist break-in. Sounds obvious but try not to be an easy target in this regard.
- A good way to assess the security of your house is to look at your house from the road and consider – if I was locked out, how would I break in to my house? Have I left bins or chairs to enable someone to hop over my side gate? Have I left tools accessible in my shed that could be used to force a window or door?
- Do trees and shrubs provide natural shelter for would be burglars while they attempt to break in? Keeping these pruned may allow your neighbours and passers by better visibility of what is happening outside the front of your house. Or consider defensive planting – holly or something prickly if you have potential access from a rear or the side.
- Consider bringing your side gate forward in line with the front of your house to remove another blind spot. An arched side gate is more difficult to climb.
- Keep your keys safe at night. Do not store near windows and doors. Consider fitting a deflector on letterbox or consider a sealed letterbox from An Post.
- External lights at night – make your home less attractive – consider LED lights – dusk till dawn. LIDL and ALDI often have ‘fake TVs’ that simulate TV flickering in rooms for when you are away. Use your alarm.
- Beware of distraction burglaries or bogus trades
- Distraction burglaries – can I use your phone? can I get a glass of water? Can I ring an ambulance? Do not let a stranger into your house.
- Bogus trades – also an excuse to access your house. Special pricing offers, doing a job for your neighbour. Very often charge excessive rates and have been known to bring people to ATM to get cash out. Only use trades that are known to you.
- Bogus collectors – another reason to access houses and check for empty houses. Also very many are for profit rather than for charity.
- When going on holiday:
- Tidy the garden and mow lawns
- Do not leave bins out
- Leave keys with friends
- Inform neighbours
- Cancel deliveries
- Manage post
- Lights on timer
- Do not advertise by posting on social media that you will be away.
- If you come across a burglar – do not engage. Phone 999 or 112 and alert the Gardaí. Get yourself to safety and inform a neighbour.
- A fire plan is as important as a security plan. Make sure that you can get easily out even when your home is locked. Test and maintain alarms and plan your escape route.
- Do not keep cash in the home. If you have valuables, take photos of jewellery and keep a list of valuables. Consider marking property with your Eircode using a UV pen.
- In summary:
- Secure all windows and doors
- Use alarm
- Light up
- Store keys safely
- Record details of valuables and don’t keep lots of cash
Thanks to Sgt Connolly and Garda Alex McDermott for their time and thank you for your continued support.