A General Guide To Protecting Your Home
Display CCTV cameras prominently – they are a fantastic deterrent.
Have a working alarm – it does deter burglars, but to a lesser extent.
Close your gates – open gates attract the baddies – they think of it as an open invitation.
Never ever let anybody into your house, even when they have an “emergency”. If someone needs to use the phone, ring the number for them. If they need water, bring it out to them. This applies to women and children also. However, there can be genuine reasons sometimes, such as an accident, but always contact a family member or neighbour and ask them to come around.
Having a well trained dog can work as a great deterrent – but don’t solely rely on this.
Don’t leave your valuables such as laptops, digital cameras and smart phones near windows where potential thieves can see them. Keep them discreet!
It’s a good idea to leave a few lights on and a TV or radio, so your house doesn’t look empty.
So many people leave tools and ladders easily accessible for opportunistic burglars. While some dedicated thieves will bring their own tools, some just break-in on the spur of the moment, using anything handy that you leave lying around. Lock it up!
Don’t tell the whole world that you’re going on holiday. Facebook, twitter, My Space, Magic Mum, etc, are just some of the places where people announce to the world that they are leaving their home empty. There are specific programs that check your holiday status and let enquirers know who is away. So, don’t be an idiot, if you’re going on holiday tell your family and friends in person.
Many burglaries occur during the day – keep an ear out for unusual noises and a dog could prove very handy – remember, most burglars are cowards and will run away when discovered, let them run, they can become dangerous if cornered.
Outside lighting can be a very good deterrent; thieves would rather break into an un-light door than a brightly lit one.
We’ve all seen programs such as “Rogue Traders” where tradesmen come into a house to mend an appliance and then they steal an item or do very unpleasant things while un-watched. It’s better to annoy a tradesman by being around when he’s working than to find out later that your under-the-mattress money is missing. Note that the vast majority of tradesmen are very, very reputable and rely heavily on their reputation, but some are very dodgy. Don't be afraid to ask for a VAT receipt.
Don’t keep large sums of money under the mattress, or anywhere at home. Use a bank or building society.
Always ask cold-calling salesmen for ID – Don’t be afraid to check the company phone number online and ring for verification, especially for large companies like ESB, Bord Gais, etc. When you are getting work done in your home, such as: CCTV installations, new windows, new driveway, chimney swept, etc, make sure you use a registered, tax-compliant and responsible business. Ask for references. Check their website –does it look legitimate? Search www.cro.ie for the company name. Alway use a tax-compliant company. You have no come back if you use un-registered businesses for “cash” jobs. Who do you call if something goes wrong? Nobody! Illegal tradesmen probably don’t have insurance either – a disaster if they accidentally burn down your house, or the dishonest tradesman bursts a pipe and floods your home. Illegal traders operate in the black economy, they are stealing from the Irish people by not contributing to the economy, we need every cent- and these thieves don’t pay tax or VAT. They are already dishonest people well used to stealing from each and every one of us – why would you let these thieves into your home?
Reasonable quality safes are available from many DIY shops. They can be great, but they MUST be solidly secured to a floor or block wall, otherwise the burglar will simply take it – no matter how heavy it is.
Having a remotely viewable CCTV system is very useful, especially if you are notified of an alarm activation. Being able to view the cameras in your home from your workplace or any computer, or from your smartphone such as an iPhone or Android phone can give a huge amount of peace of mind. The police may respond faster if you can ring them and tell them you can see your house being burgled.
Get to know and trust your neighbours – they can be your greatest ally against criminals. Set up a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area.