An AA Home Insurance poll of over 13,000 people shows that when it comes to protecting our homes against intruders Irish people are willing to go to extreme lengths. 31% of us would confront or attempt to restrain a prowler, and a similar number would scream and shout in a bid to scare them off. Just under 40% would play it safe and hide before calling the Gardai, but nearly 19% would confront them and there were also respondents who said they would shoot or kill a burglar in defence of their homes.
“Finding a burglar in the house is a very rare event in reality but is the stuff of nightmares for us all.” Says AA’s Director of Policy, Conor Faughnan. “It is hard for anyone to know how they would react but the best advice is not to panic and to think firstly about the safety of your family. It is natural to be angry – fighting mad in fact. But at the end of the day your family’s safety is more important than your possessions or your pride. The best advice is not to confront them but to secure your family within the house and call the Gardai. In a circumstance like this they will respond immediately.”
However not everyone believes they would be quite so passive if confronted with the situation. 18.8% of respondents said that they would square up to a burglar demanding they get out of their house while a further 12.5% said they would attempt to restrain a thief.
But it doesn’t stop there, in the individual comments section of the AA Home Insurance Poll, hundreds of respondents volunteered that they would be prepared to use “reasonable force” using make shift weapons such as hurls, golf clubs and baseball bats to defend their property and loved ones against a burglar. Some respondents went as far as to say they would beat the intruder to a pulp if they got the chance. 73 respondents said that they would shoot or kill an armed intruder to keep their family safe if they felt the situation justified it.
Other participants of the AA Home Insurance Poll, particularly those living in rural areas, said they would take no chances and flee their home fearing that Gardaí would take too long to reach them.
Alternatively some said their panic alarm would be the first port of call while others said they would set their dog on the criminal. Others again admitted they simply couldn’t predict whether their fight or flight mechanism would kick in unless faced with the terrifying ordeal.
To no real surprise, the AA poll reveals that women are far less prepared to confront a burglar. 6.1% of females said they would order a burglar from their property compared to 27.7% of men. Just 2.3% of women surveyed said they would even dream of trying to hold down a intruder until the cavalry arrived whereas 19.8% of men said they believed it would be their probable course of action.
County by county split
Respondents in counties Carlow (29.1%), Leitrim (27.3%) and Mayo (23.5%) respectively emerged as most likely to confront a burglar according to the AA Home Insurance Poll. While those in Cavan (19.6%), Louth (19.5%) and Laois (18.5%) topped the poll as most likely to attempt to restrain a trespasser. Inversely those from Dublin (10.7%), Clare (10.9%) and Kildare (10.9%) are least likely to do so.
“While we’re not in a position to advise people on what they should do or delve too deep into the new ‘Home Defense Bill’ we do advise homeowners to mitigate the risks and keep their homes as secure as possible. Says Faughnan. “We’d also remind homeowners to have their belongings insured.”
AA Home Security Tips
Making a home insurance claim after a burglary:
AA Home Insurance is inviting households to share their thoughts and experiences on burglary and the right of the homeowner to use reasonable force to protect themselves on the AA Ireland blog at www.aaireland.ie/blog
Notes to the editor;
Fig. 1 What respondents said they would do if they came across a burglar in their home (Based on 13,106 responses)
|Hide and try and phone the Gardaí.||37.9%|
|Yell and hope to scare the intruder out of their property then alert the Gardaí.||31.7%|
|Confront the intruder and order him/her to leave their property then call the Gardaí.||18.8%|
|Attempt to restrain the intruder until the Gardaí arrive.||12.5%|
Fig. 2 What MALE respondents said they would do if they came across a burglar in their home (Based on 7,607 responses)
|Hide and try and phone the Gardaí.||19.9%|
|Yell and hope to scare the intruder out of their property then alert the Gardaí.||34.6%|
|Confront the intruder and order him/her to leave their property then call the Gardaí.||27.7%|
|Attempt to restrain the intruder until the Gardaí arrive.||19.8%|
Fig. 3 What FEMALE respondents said they would do if they came across a burglar in their home (Based on 5,743 responses)
|Hide and try and phone the Gardaí.||63.7%|
|Yell and hope to scare the intruder out of their property then alert the Gardaí.||27.5%|
|Confront the intruder and order him/her to leave their property then call the Gardaí.||6.1%|
|Attempt to restrain the intruder until the Gardaí arrive.||2.3%|
Fig. 4 County by county split of what respondents said they would do if they came across a burglar in their home (Based on 13,106 responses)
|County plus # of respondents||Hide and try and phone the Gardaí.||Yell and hope to scare the intruder out of their property then alert the Gardaí.||Confront the intruder and order him/her to leave their property then call the Gardaí.||Attempt to restrain the intruder until the Gardaí arrive.||Other.|