Gardaí are advising homeowners to avoid posting holiday snaps on social media as they often act as an advertisement to burglars targeting vacant homes. The warning has been issued as part of the first ever EU Focus Day to prevent domestic burglary in the EU.
An Garda Síochána has linked up with other members of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) in twelve countries to help prevent domestic burglaries in the European Union. The main goal of the campaign is to inform EU citizens how they can avoid the crimes themselves.
Last year in Ireland, around €6.4 million worth of goods and cash was stolen in residential burglaries, with one-in-four culprits gaining access to a property through an unsecured door or window.
Half of all burglaries occur between midnight and 8am and there was a 32% increase in property being stolen from sheds, garages, driveways and gardens in the summer in comparison to the winter.
Garda Crime Prevention Officer Sgt Graham Kavanagh said that homeowners need to take care to ensure that their properties are secure during the summer months.
"Thefts of tools, equipment and bicycles increase by a third during the summer. An unlocked shed or unsecured bike are easy targets for the burglar," he said.
"Remember to make your home look occupied, particularly if you intend to be away for an extended period.
Once your home is locked and alarmed, ask a neighbour to regularly check your property, use timer switches or apps to turn on lights, cancel deliveries, tidy the garden and watch what you post on social media.
"Keep the surprises for your holiday and not when you return."
In addition, homeowners are advised to be mindful of what they post on social media when going away. Posting pictures or your location can attract attention from "unscrupulous people", gardaí said.
Simple steps, like safety storing ladders and tools, locking garden sheds and valuable property and using timed lights and alarms can enhance home security.
Signs of vacancy, such as curtains being closed all day or lights being left on permanently, can also attract opportunist burglars and gardaí have advised keeping these to a minimum.