| 14.5°C Dublin

Unlocked doors making it easy for city burglars

GARDAI have advised families that a major cause of city home burglaries is unlocked windows and doors.

In Dublin, figures showed break-ins increased by 13pc over a 12-month period with 63pc of the burglaries being committed on the southside of the city -- up 10pc on last year, the Eircom PhoneWatch Burglary Report 2011 shows.

Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey and Killiney are the most vulnerable areas while Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard homes are the safest and least likely to be robbed.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney from the Crime Prevention Unit said it was vital that home owners lock access points to their properties -- even when they're inside their homes.

"The first thing that jumps out is the quarter of burglaries in winter result from gained access to the domestic door or window, and this rises to a third in summer. If people make sure these are locked when they're leaving their homes then that will be a huge deterrent. A burglar is more likely to enter through the front door."

He added: "Figures are telling us that people are not locking up. Also if people have an alarm system make sure that it's on before leaving, or before going to bed. Also when choosing a security product ensure that it fits the National Standards Authority Ireland guidelines."

Burglaries in winter are more likely to occur on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays between 6pm and 10pm, according to garda statistics.

"We think that this is to do with the fact that people are out of their homes for shopping or picking up school kids.

"But people have been out their back gardens as well and they've left the front doors or windows open, and they've been burgled. We'd ask people to lock their sheds and lock their tools away as well, because burglars can use ladders to get into someone's house."

For anyone who is leaving their Dublin home over the festive period or going on holidays, gardai say neighbours can help hugely in deterring thiefs.

"Get a family friend or neighbour to collect the post, because if post builds up, it's a sure sign that it's a vacant house.

"We'd ask people to ask a neighbour to park their car in the driveway because that's always a sure sign that someone's home.

"You want to make sure your home is a less attractive place to burglars, and they're more likely to walk on by."

Gardai are advising householders to log on to www.garda.ie and participate in the Checklist Challenge which will allow families to check how safe their home is.