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Burglars don't take holidays....
31 January 2008
Diminishing sense of community: 26% believe there is little sense of community in their neighbourhood and only 10% of respondents would tell a neighbour that they are going on holidays.
The 2007 PhoneWatch burglary report revealed that one third of burglaries occur during the summer months. However, a new survey from PhoneWatch has revealed that despite 70% of people planning their holidays two to seven months in advance, 49.5 % of Irish people are not taking the time to introduce simple security measures before departing. In fact, 57% do not use timers on lights, something which can dramatically increase security within the home while on holiday.
The recent survey also revealed interesting insights into current perceptions regarding a sense of neighbourhood and community. Though 32% of respondents would involve people they knew to check on their homes whilst on holidays, only 10% would be happy to tell neighbours they were going away. Only 30% described their neighbourhood as close knit with an almost equal number (27.4%) citing they felt little sense of community in their neighbourhood.
There could be a number of reasons for this. The majority of respondents are in their home less than five years. Added to this 41% believed the reason for little or no sense of community was due to the fact they lived in a new housing estate, whilst 25% cited the constant flow of new people or renters and people being too busy (22%) as reasons for the lack of community spirit. In addition to which, 57% do not believe the Neighbourhood Watch scheme is an effective deterrent to burglary or crime whilst a further 33% did not even know if it operated in their area. Though one in three of those interviewed knew of someone who had been burgled in the last year, under 20% knew if there had been a burglary in their neighbourhood. Introducing simple security measures as well as involving neighbours in watching your home whilst away have been proven to reduce the attractiveness of your home as a target for opportunistic burglars.
Commenting on the report findings, Nick Quigley, Chief Executive, PhoneWatch said: “It is clear that the traditional sense of community and the role neighbours played in providing support security measures is disappearing from modern Ireland. Interestingly, recent research has shown that homes close to a burgled house have an elevated risk of being burgled, therefore knowing your neighbours and your neighbourhood could alert you as to when you need to be really vigilant... In any case,, just as you would place a lock on your case there are easy to introduce security measures which will immediately increase your home security. It could be as simple as asking your neighbour to park their second car in your drive whilst you and your family are away. Burglars are opportunistic by nature and the smallest security measure could be the difference between your home being singled out or not.”
PhoneWatch have a few helpful tips to increase home security during the holiday period:
- Do your neighbour and yourself a favour - invite them to use your driveway while you’re away
- Leave your answering machine off, if possible, or check your messages as often as possible
- Get a neighbour or friend to move your post to somewhere less conspicuous than your doormat
- Remember to cancel your milk and newspaper orders while away
- Will you need your grass cut or your bins put out? You can return the favour when the time comes
- Notify your home security provider if you are going to be gone longer than a week
- Your house should appear occupied at all times. Use timers to switch lights and radios on and off when you're not at home.Timers should be used on a daily basis, not just when you’re away. Light timers should be used near the front and back windows with the curtains closed
- Finally, leave a radio on for authentic living sounds
Before you leave home, don’t forget to…
- Double check the lock on your doors and windows before you leave. Use a mortice lock on external doors
- Make sure you set the alarm if you have on
- Store your valuables in a secure safe that is hidden from anyone who may be peeking in the window
If you return from your trip and find that you have been burgled, don't touch anything. Immediately leave the premises and call the guards from the nearest phone.