Making Cents: Preventing crime over the festive holiday season

Consumer advice with Gráinne McGuinness

Making Cents: Preventing crime over the festive holiday season

Consumer advice with Gráinne McGuinness

We are nearly there now. It is only two sleeps until Santa and the most highly-anticipated day of the year. But unfortunately, while the rest of us are exchanging gifts and tucking into turkey, burglars know there will be prime opportunities to break into homes where the usual routine has gone out the window.

While the temptation is to break open another box of chocolates in front of the telly and forget about everyday cares, the AA is advising that small precautions taken now could save real heartache down the line.

“Everyone wants to have an enjoyable Christmas, but unfortunately every year our AA Home Insurance team comes across cases of heartless thieves breaking into homes when the owner is out and stealing gifts they have either received or intended to give to people,” Conor Faughnan, AA director of Consumer Affairs said.

A recent survey by the AA found that more than half of homeowners didn’t plan on taking additional precautions to help reduce their risk of a burglary over the Christmas period.

But a couple of small steps can make your home a much less appealing prospect for thieves.

“You may not be able to completely eliminate the risk of a break-in, but you can at least make it tougher for a burglar to enter your home by making sure all potential entry points are locked and secure,” Mr Faughnan said.

To help keep your home safe this year, the AA recommended thinking of the Christmas ANGEL when leaving your home unoccupied over the Christmas period.

  • A — Make sure your ALARM is functioning and turn it on before you leave
  • N — Tell a NEIGHBOUR, if you’re leaving for a long period, so they can keep an eye on your home
  • G — GLASS; check that all your windows are closed and locked before you leave
  • E — EXITS; make sure all your external doors are locked
  • L — Leave some LIGHTS on so that it looks like someone is home.

If you are in the mood for making New Year resolutions already, you could make a note in your diary to take further steps to protect your home, as recommended by gardaí.

You can download a property register booklet from www.garda.ie, make a list of valuables and also use a UV pen to mark your property. Gardaí recommend using your Eircode. It is unique to your home address and can be easily looked up online both by you and others. These steps will make it easier for gardaí to identify and return your property to you, if the worst happens.

The AA are also warning motorists that they need to be just as cautious as homeowners, advice that has been repeated by gardaí in recent days. Before Christmas the fear is of people being robbed of presents they have bought for others. But in the days after Christmas, cars can be equally loaded, as recipients return home from visits with their gifts.

But no matter how tired parents and children may be after journeys, the gardaí say recent figures show it is always worth taking the time to empty the car.

In the Cork city division also, there were 2,249 thefts from vehicles over the past four years, with millions of euro worth of items taken.

“What is happening now is criminals will go around areas like housing estates and streets where lots of cars are parked up and they will try every car door because they know we are leaving some of them unlocked,” cork-based Crime Prevention Officer Sgt James O’Donovan said. “Let’s not make it easy for these criminals, make sure to lock your vehicle every time.”

“Wherever you park your vehicle, we would always advise you to take your property with you and ensure the vehicle is locked, alarmed and parked in a secure, well-lit location.

“Try not to leave any valuables in the car whatsoever.”

Mr Faughnon recommends drivers get into the habit of physically checking the car has locked before they walk away from it.

DEAL OF THE WEEK

Tesco haven’t waited until after Christmas to announce their sale, with a number of deals already available for both prepay and bill pay customers.

They have €30 off a number of prepay phones, including the Huawei Y6 2019, which is only €99.99 and the Samsung Galaxy A10, down to €119.99.

They are also offering €50 off the Huawei P smart 2019, from €199.99 to €149.99.

Bill pay customers, meanwhile, can get the Apple iPhone 7 for free if they commit to a €30 a month plan. This comes with 15GB high-speed data, 500 minutes and 500 texts per month.

For those who need more, Tesco mobile’s €40 plan will get you 20GB high-speed data, 2,000 minutes and texts as well as 200 international minutes.

Customers signing up for €40 a month can get either the Apple iPhone 8 or the Samsung Galaxy S8 for free, or pay €199.99 for a Samsung S10e.

The offers are available online and in Tesco Mobile stores nationwide.

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