How To Protect Your House From Break Ins and Burglaries
According to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), burglaries across the nation were down by as much as 26.3% in 2017 in one of the biggest drops ever recorded, but with over 9,300 burglaries reported in Dublin alone, homeowners are being advised to stay alert, particularly in the run up to the festive season when house break ins increase by up to 25 per cent.
Unfortunately, the Season of Goodwill to All Men is not a time when we should be letting our guard down, in fact, we should be more observant than ever before. During Operation Thor, a winter initiative by the Garda Síochána, it was revealed that the number of house break-ins soar between October and January when daylight hours are at their lowest levels, with a spike in burglaries between the hours of 5pm and 11pm.
The lure of expensive Christmas gifts can make your house a target for opportunistic burglars throughout the festive season, particularly if it is lacking in basic home security such as an alarm system, and so Irish homeowners are being advised to implement preventative measures now and keep would-be criminals at bay.
Winter Burglary Protection: Top Tips on Securing Your Home
While you should have home burglary protection in place throughout the year, particularly if you want to save money on your home insurance premiums, you should be extra vigilant during the winter months.
Top burglar deterrents include a house alarm, CCTV cameras, a barking dog, and leaving a television on, especially when going out in the evening, but there are other things you can do to make your home less attractive to burglars.
Here are some simple steps recommended by the Gardai and Irish home security firms to protect your home:
- Secure Doors & Windows
This may sound simple enough, but you’ll be surprised at just how few people have burglar-proof door and window locks installed at home. One fifth of all burglaries occur through an unsecured door or window, and so something as simple (and affordable) as new door locks and window locks could reduce the chances of a house break in by 20 per cent.
- Light Up Your Home with Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
Leave your lights on during the evening, particularly if you are going out, to create the illusion that someone is at home. Timer switches are a smart investment for those who are out during the ‘high-risk’ times of 5pm – 11pm, and outdoor security lighting such as motion sensor lights are perfect for illuminating your garden and driveway.
- Secure Your Perimeter
If you have a garden or outdoor space, secure it with a wall, fence, hedge, or gate to keep burglars out. Your perimeter is your first line of defence, and the harder you make it for criminals to access your property, the less likely they are to single it out as a contender for their next ‘job’. If possible, your boundary wall should be at least 1.8 metres high, and in the case of gates, robust locks should be installed.
- Keep Valuables Out of Sight
It is well-documented that burglars are opportunists, and so if they can see valuables such as car keys, wallets, an expensive watch, or a pile of wrapped Christmas presents through a window, your home is likely to be a prime target. Keep all valuables out of sight and well away from doors or windows. ‘Fishing’ through letterboxes does occur, and an experienced burglar could take your keys and your car in less than 2 minutes.
- Keep a Record of Your Valuables
It’s a good idea to keep a record of all your valuables, especially over Christmas when you might have splurged on expensive gifts. This will not only help you identify missing items at a glance, but it will also speed up your home insurance claim if you do fall prey to the festive burglar.
- Install & Use Your Home Alarm
A house alarm will play a key role in protecting your home from break-ins, and so if you haven’t installed one yet, now is a great time to do so. Once installed, make sure you use your alarm at all times – even when you are at home.
- Don’t Share Your Plans on Social Media
As tempting as it may be, do not share details of an expensive purchase or upcoming holiday on your Facebook page or social media profiles. Thieves are tech-savvy these days, and the information you post could make you their next target.
Finally, invest in a good home insurance policy. If the unthinkable does happen, at least you’ll be covered for the items you have lost, and knowing you are protected may just help you sleep at little easier at night.