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Burglary & theft

Disclaimer:

The below details are correct at time of publishing, and are provided as guidance only. Seek legal advice from your solicitor where necessary.

I’ve just been burgled. What should I do?

Call your local Garda station to report the crime straightaway. If you think intruders may still be in your home or premises, contact 999/112 immediately.

You will be asked to provide your name, address, contact details, a description of the property taken and a description of any damage caused.

A Garda will be appointed to investigate the incident and a case number will be assigned to you. If the burglary has happened at a property such as your home or business, Gardaí will visit the scene to take further details.

If the theft happened in public such as a street, you will be asked to call into the nearest Garda station to give a statement.

The incident will also be flagged to your local VSO office. They will liaise with victim as appropriate, and provide advice and assistance throughout the investigation process.

Yes. You can also declare theft of property under €500 online using our online facility here.

Secure all doors and windows; light up your home; use timer switches when out; store keys safely and away from windows; record details of all valuables; don’t keep large amounts of cash at home; use your alarm even when at home.

By taking some simple precautions you can reduce the risk of being burgled, increase the security of your home and garden and make life more difficult for any would-be intruders.

Your perimeter / boundary is your first line of defence. This includes your walls, fences, gates and hedges. Walls, fences and gates in the rear garden should be at least 1.8 metres (6 feet) high. It is often a good idea to fix a trellis to the top as it provides an extra barrier to negotiate and is also likely to break, if climbed, creating noise and attracting attention. Suitable thorny / prickly climbers could be grown through the trellis as an extra deterrent - see further information on defensive planting in the next section. 

Ensure that side gates or doors are robust, locked with good quality padlocks or deadlocks and that they cannot be lifted off their hinges. Regularly check for damage or weakness and repair as necessary. The height of the gate / door should complement the height of the walls. A barrier consisting of a dense prickly hedge running along your perimeter / boundary is well worth considering. Most would-be intruders will be deterred from seeking entry through this route. There are many plants suitable for such a role. The following list is not exhaustive and is offered as a guide only - you should discuss with a horticultural expert at your garden centre or nursery.

 

If your Mobile Phone is lost or stolen, immediately report it to An Garda Síochána and contact your Service Provider in order to have your IMEI number blocked, so that it can’t be used. The IMEI number is a 15 digit Mobile Phone number located on the back of your phone underneath the battery, or you can locate it by dialling * # 06 # on your keypad.

If you a have a SmartPhone, consider downloading a location finder App. Other preventative measures you can take include enabling the PIN Security feature; keeping your Phone locked at all times; and property-mark it with unique personal letters or numbers.

For more information on keeping your phone safe click here. For information on keeping your tablet and laptop safe, click here.

Never be embarrassed or ashamed to contact the Gardaí. Do so immediately. Write down all you can remember about what happened to include descriptions of the persons, their clothing, any peculiarities or distinguishing features and any vehicles used by them. Keep safely any documents they may have given you.

Ask your local Garda station about ‘bogus caller cards’. For people who feel particularly vulnerable these cards advise that the front door should not be open to cold callers. Apply the chain or door limiter and hand the caller the card, see below. Do not enter into a conversation with the caller. As stated above genuine callers will leave their details on the card. For more information contact the Garda National Crime Prevention Unit, on (01) 6663362 or NCPU@garda.ie

Many people routinely employ door-to-door traders and repair people / contractors. Some of these people carry out very little work and charge exorbitant amounts of money for their services. In some cases this could be criminal behaviour and there are common ways that these crimes are perpetrated.

There are recognised and defined criminal offences for this type of behaviour and they range from criminal damage, deception, to demanding money with men-aces. All are dealt with under existing criminal legislation and offenders, when caught, can be successfully prosecuted before the criminal courts.

If a person calls to your door offering you professional trade services observe the following:

  • Tell the caller that you never employ trades people ‘cold calling’ to your door. Ask for a sales brochure or other documentation that you can subsequently investigate and verify as credible. This should have a contact telephone number, known address and a V.A.T. registered number.
  • Be particularly careful where sales documentation only displays mobile contact numbers or in-complete addresses. Telephone directory enquiries can assist in establishing the credibility and bona fides of the company or individual concerned.
  • If you are satisfied that the company or individual is credible and you still think their employment is necessary, ask for an itemised written quotation for the services being offered and the names of persons and locations where they have previously worked successfully.
  • Never solely rely on the accuracy of the information being proffered. Verify the information your-self.
  • Always seek comparable estimates for any services offered from other established reputable companies.
  • Never engage a person who insists on cash payment for services offered. Even when employing a reputable company always use a method of payment that is traceable.
  • Never leave strangers, even bona fide workers, unsupervised in your home.

Check out our Retail Safety Guide with more information on preventing theft or get involved with our effective Business Watch scheme, run in conjunction with Chambers Ireland and the wider business community.

Also check out our 'Protecting Your Business' page for more helpful information and practical advice.

I’ve just been burgled. What should I do?

Call your local Garda station to report the crime straightaway. If you think intruders may still be in your home or premises, contact 999/112 immediately.

Can I report the crime online?

Yes. You can also declare theft of property under €500 online using our online facility here.

 

What details do I have to give the Gardaí when I report the crime?

You will be asked to provide your name, address, contact details, a description of the property taken and a description of any damage caused.

 

What happens after I do that?

A Garda will be appointed to investigate the incident and a case number will be assigned to you. If the burglary has happened at a property such as your home or business, Gardaí will visit the scene to take further details.

If the theft happened in public such as a street, you will be asked to call into the nearest Garda station to give a statement.

The incident will also be flagged to your local VSO office. They will liaise with victim as appropriate, and provide advice and assistance throughout the investigation process.

My mobile phone has been stolen. How do I try get it back?

If your Mobile Phone is lost or stolen, immediately report it to An Garda Síochána and contact your Service Provider in order to have your IMEI number blocked, so that it can’t be used. The IMEI number is a 15 digit Mobile Phone number located on the back of your phone underneath the battery, or you can locate it by dialling * # 06 # on your keypad.

If you a have a SmartPhone, consider downloading a location finder App. Other preventative measures you can take include enabling the PIN Security feature; keeping your Phone locked at all times; and property-mark it with unique personal letters or numbers.

For more information on keeping your phone safe click here. For information on keeping your tablet and laptop safe, click here.

 

I think I have just been a victim of a bogus caller. What should I do?

Never be embarrassed or ashamed to contact the Gardaí. Do so immediately. Write down all you can remember about what happened to include descriptions of the persons, their clothing, any peculiarities or distinguishing features and any vehicles used by them. Keep safely any documents they may have given you.

Ask your local Garda station about ‘bogus caller cards’. For people who feel particularly vulnerable these cards advise that the front door should not be open to cold callers. Apply the chain or door limiter and hand the caller the card, see below. Do not enter into a conversation with the caller. As stated above genuine callers will leave their details on the card. For more information contact the Garda National Crime Prevention Unit, on (01) 6663362 or NCPU@garda.ie

What simple things can I do now to protect my home from burglars?

Secure all doors and windows; light up your home; use timer switches when out; store keys safely and away from windows; record details of all valuables; don’t keep large amounts of cash at home; use your alarm even when at home.

 

I’m a business owner and I’d like to know how to better protect my premises. Where I can get more information?

Check out our Retail Safety Guide with more information on preventing theft or get involved with our effective Business Watch scheme.

 

How can I make my home more difficult for opportunistic burglars to break into?

By taking some simple precautions you can reduce the risk of being burgled, increase the security of your home and garden and make life more difficult for any would-be intruders.

Your perimeter / boundary is your first line of defence. This includes your walls, fences, gates and hedges. Walls, fences and gates in the rear garden should be at least 1.8 metres (6 feet) high. It is often a good idea to fix a trellis to the top as it provides an extra barrier to negotiate and is also likely to break, if climbed, creating noise and attracting attention. Suitable thorny / prickly climbers could be grown through the trellis as an extra deterrent - see further information on defensive planting in the next section. 

Ensure that side gates or doors are robust, locked with good quality padlocks or deadlocks and that they cannot be lifted off their hinges. Regularly check for damage or weakness and repair as necessary. The height of the gate / door should complement the height of the walls. A barrier consisting of a dense prickly hedge running along your perimeter / boundary is well worth considering. Most would-be intruders will be deterred from seeking entry through this route. There are many plants suitable for such a role. The following list is not exhaustive and is offered as a guide only - you should discuss with a horticultural expert at your garden centre or nursery.

 

I live alone. How can I feel safer?

Consider joining a Community Alert or Neighbourhood Watch scheme if there is one in your area. These schemes may be able to assist in getting funding for various security systems available for qualifying older persons. Click here for more information on these schemes.

In terms of securing your home, firstly, fit a door viewer and a door chain/limiter. These will allow you to safely check callers and retain control over security. Secondly, front and rear doors and windows should be kept locked day and night. Third, keep a list of emergency numbers that you can refer to quickly, if required, e.g. family, neighbours, Gardaí, medical or fire service.

If you have a mobile phone, ensure that you have emergency contact numbers recorded under the ICE (In Case of Emergency) system. Fifth, keep a Personal Information Pack on your fridge (Age Action Ireland, tel: 01-4756989, for further information). Finally, number your house clearly so that emergency services can find you quickly if necessary.

Thieves and burglars also love nothing better than cash. It is therefore important you do not keep large amounts of cash in your home. Use banks, building societies, credit unions, post offices etc. Keep all credit/debit cards in a secure location as well as financial statements and records.

Find out more on our Security for the Older Person leaflet here.

 

My home is vacant at the moment as it is up for sale. What can I do to protect it?

Empty buildings contain a lot of valuable fixtures and fittings and invite opportunities for theft of building fixtures, such as plumbing and electrical cabling.

Organised gangs and opportunistic thieves are suspected of being involved in this activity and all geographic areas are potential targets. The Garda National Crime Prevention Unit advises the following security measures for house owners, estate agents and letting companies:

  • Conduct frequent checks of the property at different times of the day to note any signs of trespassing or interference.
  • Install a burglar alarm and set it.
  • Secure all doors and windows with deadbolt locks.
  • Install timers on internal lights and motion detectors on external lights to make the house appear occupied and offer natural surveillance of the property.
  • Ensure that the building doesn't look neglected. Cut the grass and hedges regularly.
  • Remove rubbish from inside the building and around the perimeter.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the local Gardaí.
  • Inform the local Garda station about the premises being vacant to afford passing attention on patrols.
  • Put measures in place to protect empty buildings against arson, theft and vandalism.
  • Avoid the build up of post and unsolicited mail by arranging ‘mail minder’ service with An Post to retain

 

What is a bogus caller?

Many people routinely employ door-to-door traders and repair people / contractors. Some of these people carry out very little work and charge exorbitant amounts of money for their services. In some cases this could be criminal behaviour and there are common ways that these crimes are perpetrated.

There are recognised and defined criminal offences for this type of behaviour and they range from criminal damage, deception, to demanding money with men-aces. All are dealt with under existing criminal legislation and offenders, when caught, can be successfully prosecuted before the criminal courts.

 

I’ve heard reports that bogus callers are in the neighbourhood. What should I do if they call to my house?

If a person calls to your door offering you professional trade services observe the following:

  • Tell the caller that you never employ trades people ‘cold calling’ to your door. Ask for a sales brochure or other documentation that you can subsequently investigate and verify as credible. This should have a contact telephone number, known address and a V.A.T. registered number.
  • Be particularly careful where sales documentation only displays mobile contact numbers or in-complete addresses. Telephone directory enquiries can assist in establishing the credibility and bona fides of the company or individual concerned.
  • If you are satisfied that the company or individual is credible and you still think their employment is necessary, ask for an itemised written quotation for the services being offered and the names of persons and locations where they have previously worked successfully.
  • Never solely rely on the accuracy of the information being proffered. Verify the information your-self.
  • Always seek comparable estimates for any services offered from other established reputable companies.
  • Never engage a person who insists on cash payment for services offered. Even when employing a reputable company always use a method of payment that is traceable.
  • Never leave strangers, even bona fide workers, unsupervised in your home.