“A significant proportion of creeper burglaries take place when the occupants are at home.” Sgt. Paul Wallace, Crime Prevention Unit in the Donegal Division revealed this stark statistic at the ‘Safe@Home’ Security Seminar hosted by Bluebird Care in Letterkenny last Thursday.
The creeper phenomenon is one which sees burglars targeting homes that don't have an alarm installed.
Addressing a packed room in the Station House Hotel, Sgt. Wallace said that while there was a spike in burglaries in Donegal in October, November and again in January, there was a growing fear of crime among older people in particular with increased media reporting of incidents. However he said that most of the investigations into recent crimes were at an "advanced stage".
"The statistics are very clear but there are measures homeowners can take to prevent creeper burglaries and this was the main focus of my presentation. 45% of burglars enter via the rear of properties, 23% via the rear door, 22% via a rear window and 17.5% via the front door. Most break-ins take place during the cover of darkness. So the core message is that awareness is the best defence," says Sgt. Wallace.
Chaired by Greg Hughes, Head of News at Highland Radio, the event is the first in a series of nationwide security seminars hosted by the homecare company.
Director of Bluebird Care Donegal, Marty Kelly said, “Behind the scenes, we have been planning 'Safe at Home' for the past six months. Last July Bluebird Care decided to host a series of events dealing with issues affecting older people in Ireland as part of our involvement in Positive Ageing Week organised by Age Action.
As a network, we have 22 offices, 800 staff and ultimately meet thousands of older people every week. So you could say we are a good sounding board for the issues affecting older people and we wanted to bring these issues to public attention.”
The event was also addressed by Letterkenny CDP who operate a pilot Community Alert programme. Project worker Lourda Nee said there was a growing demand for their services in light of recent burglaries.
Jim Porter of Sheridan Security also demonstrated alarms and security devices for the home.
The next 'Safe at Home' Security Seminar takes place in Swords on 21st March.