Friday 17 August 2018

Homeowners warned to take extra care as summer months offer 'plenty of opportunities' for burglars

Gardai are launching the Garda Summertime Campaign to help homeowners protect their gardens from thieves this summer (Stock)
Gardai are launching the Garda Summertime Campaign to help homeowners protect their gardens from thieves this summer (Stock)

Rachel Farrell

Homeowners are being warned to take extra measures to protect their gardens over the summer months, as new figures show over €1.8m worth of garden property was stolen in the last 12 months.

Thefts from sheds, gardens and garages have increased by one third in the last year, despite residential thefts seeing a decrease at this time of year.

Tools, gardening equipment and bicycles are some of the most commonly stolen items from garden sheds over the summer season. The figures, from the Garda Analysis Unit, value the stolen goods at over €1.4m. 

Burglars are at their busiest between 11am and 5pm during the day over the summer, compared to winter burglaries which are most common in the evening time. 

Other busy periods for summer burglaries last year were between 1am and 5am and in the evenings between 5pm and 9pm.

Gardaí have launched the Garda Summertime Safety campaign to help homeowners protect their gardens from thieves during the hotter days.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said that the summer offers "plenty of opportunities" for burglars across the country.

"Sheds left open and bicycles left unsecured in gardens are easy targets for the burglar. Remind children to lock their bicycles when not in use. 

"Unfortunately, our bad habits allow the burglar to enter our property too easily. One in four burglars enter through an open door or window in the summer, so lock up and light up."

To keep your garden theft-free this summer, follow the following steps to protect your home;

-Keep bikes locked up and encourage children to put theirs away at the end of the day

-Secure valuable gardening equipment like ladders and lawnmowers in the shed, using good quality chains and locks for added protection

-Lock windows and doors; according to Gardaí, one of the most common modes of entry for burglars is through open doors and windows

-Consider adding a barrier of prickly hedge under walls and windows to deter thieves from entering

-Hedges and shrubs in the front garden should be no more than 3ft high. Speaking from the Garda Stand at the Bloom in the Park Festival, Sergeant Courtney said: "An untidy lawn gives the impression of a vacant home which is more likely to be targeted by burglars. Overgrown hedges or bushes can provide cover for intruders."

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