Burglaries are on the increase but commuter counties fare worst

In an AA survey of almost 15,500 people, 28.5% have said that their home has been burgled at some stage. It is probably no surprise that Dublin is worst for burglaries overall, with over 38% saying they have been a victim of this crime at some stage. The CSO found that between 2004 and 2012 burglaries had increased by 22% in the Western Dublin division. However, the North Central division saw a decrease of 11%.

CSO figures have shown an increase in burglaries of over 10% between 2004 and 2012 but it is the commuter counties around Dublin which have seen the greatest increase. These counties include Louth, Laois, Offaly and Kildare. However it is County Meath which has seen the greatest increase in the commuter counties with 40% more burglaries in 2012 than in 2004. This figure was reflected in the latest AA Home Insurance survey which showed that people from Meath have experienced more burglaries this year than in any other county in the Republic of Ireland.

Kildare came in at second for overall burglaries with over 34%. In fact the CSO found that there had been a 32% increase in burglaries between 2004 and 2012 in Co Kildare. “The problem in the commuter counties around Dublin is that every morning a would-be burglar knows that there will be a mass exodus towards the capital, leaving behind whole estates full of empty houses, meaning easy pickings” remarks Conor Faughnan Director of Consumer Affairs at The AA.

The AA survey also found that more people in Limerick said they were burgled than in any other county in Munster, with over 22%. Burglaries in Limerick have increased by almost 10% in the last 8 years. Meanwhile when you combine the three Cork divisions, you find that burglaries in the county have decreased by 11%.

Burglaries have increased in every county in Connacht between 2004 and 2012 but particularly in Co Mayo where there has been a 52% increase. Of those who took part in the AA Survey, residents of Leitrim claimed to have had the most burglaries, with a little more than 21%. Cavan is worst for the Ulster counties in the Republic, with over 19% of those polled saying the same. On the other side of the scale, homes in Co Donegal seem to be the safest in Ireland as just 13% of those polled by The AA have said that they have been burgled. The CSO figures show that Donegal has seen the greatest decrease in burglaries in the last 8 years with 18% less reported in 2012 than 2004.

“Burglaries don’t just mean the loss of some of your belongings but they also mean an infringement on your personal life and your security” says Faughnan. “Knowing that your most important contents can be replaced may bring some much needed relief. It is vital though, to make sure that you have listed all contents to be insured with your insurer first.”

The AA is warning home owners to make sure their homes are fully protected. Quite often it’s through an open door or window that a burglar gains access to a victim’s house. In fact, The AA poll discovered that 14% of those who were burgled said that the offender got in this way. “It’s a good idea to get yourself into a routine before you leave the house or when you’re going to bed” says Faughnan. “Make sure you check every door is locked and every window shut.”

The AA poll found that over 31% of participants said that the intruder gained access through a locked door. To combat this, make sure all exterior doors are fitted with deadbolt locks which are pick-resistant and be sure that these doors are made with solid wood or metal, a minimum of one inch thick. In the majority of cases, burglars gained access through a closed window so it would also be a good idea to fit window locks.  “Having all these additional security measures would be a complete waste if you left your house keys where a burglar can easily find them. Don’t leave your keys in obvious places like under a plant pot, on the door frame or beneath a mat” advises Faughnan.

When no one is home, it’s worth leaving a light on or perhaps the radio to deter a would-be trespasser.  However, the best way to protect your home is with a house alarm. “Most home insurance companies including The AA, offer a discount if you have a house alarm. Before you buy a new alarm though, you should consult your existing home insurance provider to find out which alarms will secure the larger discount on your home insurance” says Faughnan.

When it comes to burglaries, prevention is definitely better than the cure. For more details on AA Home Insurance click here.