GARDAI will be out in force across Limerick this week giving crime prevention advice as part of the national “Supporting Safer Communities” initiative.
Information stands will be erected at a number of shopping centres between now and the weekend where members of the public will be able to interact with local gardai who will be able to advise them if they have specific queries.
Garda clinics will also take place at the University of Limerick and at Mary Immaculate College where students will be given advice on burglary prevention.
In addition, gardai will be mounting checkpoints at locations across the city where they will be handing out information leaflets to motorists on home and personal safety.
“This is a week when our community gardai engage with the wider public in an effort to heighten everyone’s awareness when it comes to home safety and personal safety,” said a garda spokesperson.
The main aim of the week is to encourage homeowners to take measures to ensure their homes are secure ahead of the Winter months when the number of burglaries is expected to increase by around a quarter.
Figures from An Garda Síochána show that the peak time for residential burglaries is between 5pm and 11pm during the winter months.
The analysis also shows that in nearly half of all burglaries in winter, the culprits enter the rear of home, while 20% of households are entered by burglars through an unsecured door or window.
Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said darker evenings and lax security can make it easier for burglars. “The longer evenings can help burglars spot if people are not home. For instance, they can easily see if a house is empty if rooms are unlit, curtains are open, and there is no car in the driveway. It also makes it easier for them to enter a residence without being seen,” he said.
Homeowners are being urged to take a number of basic steps to improve security at their homes.
“Don’t be one of the 20% that allow burglars easy access through an unsecured point. Lock your windows and doors, and try and make them tamper proof locks. Light up your house – use timers on lamps inside if you’re going to be out, and make sure you have an outside light that is tied to a motion sensor,” said Sgt Courtney.
Homeowners are also being encouraged to secure their car kets at night following an increases in “fishing” which see burglars place implements such as adapted fishing rods through letter boxes to “fish” car and house keys from hall tables.