Majority of Irish homeowners now more conscious of risk of burglary – despite no change to burglary rates
Summer is well upon us and as many people plan their getaways, we might easily forget about our home security measures and ensuring our homes are well protected when we are away. Recent CSO recorded crime statistics providing some reassuring news - the number of burglaries recorded nationwide in the 12 months to March 2023 was 9,289, which has remained unchanged compared to the previous 12 months (April 2021 to March 2022). However, it is important to always be conscious of the need to keep our homes safe and secure, particularly when we are away on holidays.
Although the national burglary rate for the last 12 months remains stable, some counties and regions have experienced significant increases in the number of reported break-ins; In Mayo burglaries have increased by 20% in the last 12 months, Kildare by 19% and Sligo and Leitrim both experiencing a 17% increase. While there have been positive reductions in some counties, with Roscommon, Longford, Laois and Offaly all decreasing the number of burglaries by 15%. The Dublin region, which accounts for over 4 in 10 (42%) of all burglaries experienced a slight 2% increase in the 12 months to March 2023.
As the number of houses increases throughout the country due to population growth, the opportunity for burglars also grows. Recent research undertaken by PhoneWatch* reveals that 56% of respondents said that they are more conscious of the risk of burglaries now, compared to 12 months ago. As the cost of living is still at the forefront of many people’s minds, it is reassuring to know that people are still looking to prioritise their home and family’s safety. In addition to a rise in the level of interest in camera doorbells and video (CCTV) camera’s, Ireland has one of the highest levels of monitored home alarms ownership in Europe, with almost 20% of Irish households estimated to have a monitored alarm. In addition, of those homes without a monitored system, over 40% are more likely to consider getting one now compared to 12 months ago.
The figures for home security in Ireland reveal some interesting comparisons between Ireland and the U.K. In this country we appear to be more aware of the need to keep our homes safe. 49% of all households in Ireland have an alarm system of some description (either monitored or unmonitored) **, whereas in England and Wales, only 29% of households have an alarm. Perhaps because of this significant difference, the reported burglary rates in England and Wales (combined) are significantly higher than it is in Ireland. In the 12 months to March 2022, the number of burglaries reported in England and Wales was 192,060***. This equates to an annual rate of 7.7 burglaries per 1,000 households. In Ireland, for the same period, the comparable figure is 4.4 burglaries per 1,000 homes – meaning that the burglary rate in England and Wales is 75% higher than Ireland.
*research commissioned by PhoneWatch, conducted by Bounce
**research undertaken by Amárach based on CSO 2016 census
***research from CSO census Ireland 2023, ons.gov.uk census 2022, statista.com/ home security trends England Wales, theecoexperts.co.uk, Aug 2019.
Commenting on these findings, Eoin Dunne, PhoneWatch Managing Director, outlined that, “It is reassuring to see that Irish homeowners are maintaining a high level of vigilance when it comes to home security and the risks associated with an invasive home intrusion. Half of all Irish homes have an alarm system of some type, and a large proportion of these are monitored systems, which we know are much more likely to help protect against the threat of burglary. Comparisons between Ireland, where 49% of households have an alarm system and figures from England and Wales, where 29% of households have an alarm are very interesting. They appear to confirm the view that there is a direct relationship between the number of homes with alarms - 41% lower in England & Wales and the rate of burglary, which is 75% higher in England and Wales.
A home burglary can have devastating impacts and although valuables can be stolen, nothing compares to the personal trauma associated with somebody breaking into your home and invading your privacy. However, we can all take simple and straightforward steps to better protect our homes. PhoneWatch have devised the below handy home security tips to help keep you safer.
- Lock up: Lock all windows and doors before you leave. If you have garden sheds, ensure they are locked, so that all your belongings inside are secure.
- Remove spares: If you have any keys left outside under floor pots or mats, remove these so that there is no opportunity for anyone to find them.
- Tend to the garden: If you have a garden, try to cut your grass and prune your shrubs a few days before you leave, so that it is freshly done. Overgrown gardens can trigger potential burglars to realise that nobody is home.
- Hide valuables: Inside your home, lock any valuables away, so if a burglar was to break in, they’d have less of a chance of being able to access them.
- Alert your neighbours: Tell your neighbours that you are going on holiday, so that they can be extra vigilant, and on alert for any suspicious activity around your home.
- Bins and post: Ask your neighbours or close friends to take out your bins, and bring in your post, so that these don’t pile up outside your house and alert people that the house is currently vacant.
- No social media: Don’t post about your holiday on social media before or during your getaway. Your posts have the potential of reaching many people who will then know your home is vacant. So, if you want to share your holiday photos, it is best to do so when you return home.
- Get a monitored house alarm system: Having a 24/7 monitored alarm system is the best option to protect your home. It acts as a strong deterrent to warn off potential burglars as they know that they’ll be caught, and the Gardaí will be alerted. PhoneWatch has an all-inclusive home safety system that gives you peace of mind and more control over protecting you and your family from burglary and smoke incidents and they respond to all alarms within 15 seconds. It is proven that you are 4* times less likely to be burgled with a PhoneWatch monitored alarm, according to data from the CSO recorded crime statistics March 2023 and PhoneWatch Alarm Receiving Centre data.
*4 times less likely to be burgled / safer refers to having a PhoneWatch alarm and not having an alarm. Based on the total PhoneWatch customer base divided by total PhoneWatch customers who have experience a burglary (data from our Alarm Receiving Centre).
This data is then compared to the national Irish burglary rate i.e., total Irish households divided by total recorded burglaries. This information is taken from the CSO recorded crime data March 2023.
PhoneWatch urges homeowners to protect their homes and families by installing a monitored alarm system. For more information on regional burglary rates and PhoneWatch’s July 2023 burglary report visits: www.phonewatch.ie/burglaryreport.