As part of Operation Thor, An Garda Síochána say simple steps can help people protect their home this winter.
Launched in November 2015, Operation Thor is a national multi-strand anti-crime initiative which actively targets organised crime gangs and repeat offenders. It involves a wide-range of enforcement, crime prevention and public awareness measures.
And following the release of new figures which show that almost a third of break-ins are through the front door Garda are advising people to “close the door on burglars.”
The Garda Analysis Service figures, which are based on an analysis of burglaries from July 2015 to June 2016, say 29% of burglaries involved burglars entering homes by the front door – with most of them using their own body to gain entry.
Burglars targeted back doors in 26% of break-ins, back windows in 24% and front windows in 8%, with one in five cases involving a burglar getting access through an unsecured door or window.
Nearly half of burglaries (46%) occur between 5pm and 11pm, but the figures also show that burglaries are down more than 25% in the first half of 2016.
Jewellery and cash are the most common objects stolen, with computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles also among the top items taken.
Authorities also found that the average value of goods stolen is €600.
The practice of “fishing”, where car keys are fished through a letterbox by burglars, also remains a problem with 163 cases reported to Gardaí over the 12-month period.
Dublin was the most affected region, with 75% of fishing incidents occurring there.
Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said:
“Burglaries have traditionally risen during the longer winter nights. Locking up and lighting up over the coming months could be the difference between making your home safe and making your home vulnerable. It’s as simple as that.
“As the days get shorter I would urge homeowners to make sure their home looks occupied. Use timer switches to turn on lights, lock all doors and windows, store keys away from windows and letterboxes, and use your alarm. Lock Up and Light Up.
“Taking these simple steps will lessen a home’s vulnerability, deter burglars and protect homes.”
With regard to Operation Thor, Sgt Courtney said the operation has resulted in burglaries being down over 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 and over 25 per cent the second quarter according to the CSO.
“Operation Thor has resulted in a substantial decline in burglaries, but we will not be complacent.
“Our focus over the coming months will be to ensure we continue to protect and support communities across the country through checkpoints, increased patrolling in burglary hot-spots, providing impactful and useful crime prevention advice, working with our partners on initiatives such as Text Alert, and denying criminals the use of the road network.
“Having your home burgled is a distressing and traumatic experience.
“An Garda Síochána is hoping that by raising awareness of some simple crime prevention measures, such as locking up and lighting up, less Irish families will have to endure the pain of being burgled this winter.”