Burglars prefer the cover of darkness to operate unseen, and with daylight hours decreasing following the changing of the clocks, now is their favourite time to target houses and property.
According to the garda crime prevention unit, residential burglary follows a consistent seasonal pattern, with more burglaries occurring in the winter months.
"In winter, there is a propensity for burglary to occur in the hours of 4pm to 9pm, with 42pc of all burglaries occurring within these six hours," said Sergeant Kelvin Courtney from the Garda National Crime Prevention Unit.
"Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the most likely days for burglaries to occur in winter," he added.
Domestic burglary is a criminal offence that not only robs victims of their possessions, it can also rob people of their sense of security at home - a place where everyone should feel most safe.
It can have lasting negative effects on individuals and communities.
While in Ireland residential burglary in 2020 has fallen during Covid-19, with a sharp reduction observed in March and April in response to Government restrictions on work, travel, school and business, the threat of burglary still increases in winter.
From March to August inclusive, there were 43pc fewer residential burglaries reported compared with the same period in 2019.
Speaking following the launch of the EU Focus Day on Burglary, Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Graham Kavanagh said the force has launched the annual winter phase of Operation Thor to tackle burglaries and associated criminal activity.
Operation Thor was introduced in November 2015 to target criminal gangs and repeat offenders, who often used the motorway network to travel to rural locations carrying out multiple burglaries before returning back to their bases.
"Unsecured doors and windows still make up a large proportion of burglary modus operandi," said Sgt Kavanagh.
"When Operation Thor began unsecured doors and windows accounted for 25pc of all burglaries, thankfully this figure has dropped to just under 20pc.
"This does still mean one in five burglars simply walk through an open door or climb through an open window," he added.
The front door (34pc), rear door (25pc) and rear window (20pc) are still the most common means of entry into your home by a burglar.
"Jewellery and cash make up 75pc of the total value items stolen from homes.
"Home owners should avoid keeping large amounts of cash at home and ensure valuable jewellery is either secured in a properly rated safe or deposited in a safety deposit box," said Supt Kavanagh.
"Electronics and tools are the next most stolen items. Home owners are encouraged to mark, photograph and record the serial numbers of their property."
There has been a large increase in the numbers of people cycling in recent years, encouraged by the government's Bike To Work scheme which through a tax-back offer could save half the price of a bicycle up to €1,250.
Bicycles have also become more specialised, and as a result, more expensive in recent years.
Burglars have realised that a stolen bike can be hard to trace and can earn them a lucrative sum.
"There has been a significant rise in thefts of bicycles from homes, garages and sheds," said Sgt Kavanagh.
"We would encourage homeowners to securely lock items within their shed or garage and use a robust lock on the shed or garage itself to slow down the burglar."
Adding the shed or garage to the house alarm system is also advised.
Whether you are at home or going out, remember these simple steps can help protect your home:
• Turn on some lights
• Use timer switches to operate lights if you are away from home
• Lock all doors and windows
• Use an alarm
• Store keys away from doors and windows, don't leave them in the lock where burglars can break a pane of glass and then reach in and unlock the door
• Don't keep large amounts of cash or jewellery in the house
• Consider an electronic doorbell that combines the bell with a video camera that alerts your phone when pressed and allows you to see or converse with the caller.