An Garda Síochána have launched a Garda Summertime Safety Campaign, and have asked us to pass on this useful information to all our members.
· Over €1.8 million worth of property was stolen from sheds/garages and gardens in summer burglaries and thefts in the last 12 months.
· Tools, gardening equipment and bicycles made up the majority of the value of property stolen from sheds/garages and gardens (around €1.4 million).
· Burglaries and thefts from sheds/garages and gardens increased by one third in the summer (+33%) despite residential burglaries generally decreasing in this time.
As part of the Garda ‘Summertime Safety’ campaign the public are encouraged to improve their home security by tidying up gardens and securing sheds / garages.
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 burglars. Ladders and tools left unsecured are often used by burglars to gain entry to homes. The increase in theft of bikes from gardens in the summer versus the winter (+74%) is much greater than the increase of theft of bikes from sheds/garages (+27%). This is possibly connected to people leaving their bikes out around their homes rather than putting them away when not in use in the summer.
Garden/ Landscaping Crime Prevention Advice:
1. Don’t help the burglar; safely store away ladders, tools etc.
2. Use quality locks on Garden sheds, chain valuable property, tools, bikes, etc. within.
3. Property mark and photograph valuable possessions.
4. Tidy up gardens and shrubbery, this improves visibility and creates the illusion of an occupied home.
5. Consider defensive planting, e.g. thorny plants around the perimeter, for extra security.
6. A barrier of prickly hedge along your boundary or underneath a window will help deter thieves.
7. Hedges and shrubs in the front garden should be kept to a height of no more than 3 feet in order to avoid giving a burglar a screen behind which they can conceal themselves.
If your home is going to be vacant during the summer period;
1. Ask a trusted neighbour or family member to conduct frequent checks of the property at different times of the day to note any signs of trespassing or interference
2. Ensure the house alarm is set
3. Check all doors and windows are secure. (Use deadbolt locks if property is to be vacant for long periods)
4. Install timers on internal lights and motion detectors on external lights to make the house appear occupied and offer natural surveillance of the property
5. Ensure that the building doesn’t look neglected. Cut the grass, trim hedges etc.
6. Ask a neighbour to collect post or if you are going to be away for longer periods arrange a ‘mail minder’ service with An Post to retain post for collection and place a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on letter-box
7. Inform the local Garda station about the premises being vacant to afford passing attention on patrols
If you are going on holiday and your home is going to be vacant, be mindful of what you post on social media. Even if you have enabled strict privacy settings, your holiday plans could be shared with unscrupulous people.
1. Don’t post status updates about your holidays while you’re still away
2. Don’t post pictures while you’re away
3. Respect other people’s privacy, don’t tag others while you and they are on holidays
4. Avoid posting upcoming travel plans
5. Consider turning off the location sharing setting of your phone’s camera app
Sgt. James Malone
Crime Prevention Officer