Stay safe this Christmas

By Hayden Moore

Crime Prevention Officer at Tallaght Garda Station, Sergeant Mark Redmond called in to The Echo this week to tell us how we can keep safe over the Christmas period.

During the winter months crime is on the rise as the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, with Christmas falling as an idealistic opportunity for burglars to pounce.

Sgt Mark Redmond Crime Prevention Officer

Tallaght's Crime Prevention Officer Mark Redmond 

In the winter, 40 per cent of burglaries occur between the hours of 5pm and 11pm with the burglary rate increasing by 25 per cent and the Gardai are urging people to take extra precaution this Christmas.

“One in 20 cars are left unlocked, so all it takes is for someone to walk around a carpark pulling handles – every 20 cars, one will open” said Sgt Redmond.

“These are simple things but you’d be surprised how many people just don’t do them, all it takes is an extra few minutes to check over things and make sure they are secure.”

Sgt Redmond has urged homeowners to keep these five tips in mind over the winter season, as 35 per cent of burglars gain entry to homes through the front door or window, and 43 percent through the rear of the property. 

Secure all doors and windows.

Light up your home, use timer switches when out.

Use your alarm, even when at home.

Store keys safely and away from windows & letterboxes (as there were over 200 cases where car keys where “fished” through letterboxes this year).

Record details of valuables and don’t keep large cash amounts at home.

Also, here are the top 10 safety tips to keep in mind over the Christmas, provided by the An Garda Síochána.

Drink alcohol responsibly. Wherever the celebration – everyone should promote safe behaviour.

Plan your night out, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

You, your family or friends should never walk home alone, remember safety in numbers. If you have no other option, walk in well-lit areas.

Take care when carrying your handbag, smart phone or tablet in crowded areas. Keep them in a safe location within view.

Watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas. Keep handbags zipped and don’t put your wallet in your back pocket. In bars and restaurants, take care about where you store coats and handbags.

At ATM’s, only take out as much money as you need. Cover your pin number and call Gardai if you believe the machine has been compromised.

Take care of your Christmas shopping and never leave it unattended, especially in your car.

Don’t leave Christmas presents in view from the outside of your home.

If you’re expecting deliveries, always make sure someone is there to collect it or arrange for a trusted neighbour to take it in.

If you’re going away for Christmas, make your home look occupied, leave a light on and get a trusted neighbour to check on your property.

For more information on crime prevention visit www.garda.ie or contact Crime Prevention Officer of Tallaght Garda Station, Sgt Mark Redmond at 01 666 6000.

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