Expert warning over summer break-ins

HOUSEHOLDERS about to go on holidays are being warned to secure their homes as burglaries soar during the summer months.

Security experts said that in a quarter of break-ins, burglars don’t even have to use force to gain entry.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) — a state body under the aegis of the Department of Enterprise — said recent figures showed an increase in the number of burglaries during the summer months.

Burglaries have also jumped over the years, from 5,798 in quarter three (July-September) 2007 to 7,194 in quarter three 2009 — a “staggering” rise of 24%.

“It’s important to remind people to take precautions regarding their home security before heading away,” said Maurice Buckley, chief executive of NSAI.

“It is a shocking fact that in a quarter of all burglaries, the burglars don’t even have to use force, as most houses are not properly secured. NSAI wants to ensure that you enjoy your summer holiday by adopting home security tips.”

These tips include:

*Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, letterboxes or other “secret” hiding places.

*Keep all valuables out of sight.

*Make sure to leave keys with trusted neighbours and ask them to regularly check on your house.

*Inform your local Garda station you will be heading away and leave them your contact details.

*Call the local post office and ask them to hold your mail for collection and postpone all other deliveries, including milk, until your return.

Mr Buckley said people could use light timers to give the impression the house is occupied.

He said households could also consider installing an alarm.

But he added: “If you have an alarm or are thinking about installing one, make sure it is installed by a certified company and that you have a maintenance contract in place so that it is serviced annually and continues to function correctly.”

He said people can check if a company or alarm installer is NSAI certified by logging onto www.nsai.ie.

Mr Buckley said if considering a monitored alarm system, make sure the company is licensed by the Private Security Authority.

He said a “significant number” of homes were now installing CCTV systems.


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