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Wednesday, 25th Apr, 2012
Advice regarding vacant property

An Garda Síochána highlight the issue of Home Security, focusing on houses advertised for Sale and Vacant Premises.

In the current housing market, many regions have been victim to thieves cleaning out unoccupied homes, stripping them of copper pipe and tanks. The increase in the value of copper and lead has increased the incidents of theft of these and other metals.
An Garda Síochána has identified an emerging crime trend showing that vacant buildings, whether empty for a short or long term, and properties advertised for sale are being targeted for burglary, especially in isolated areas.
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 being targeted.
The Garda National Crime Prevention Unit advises the following security measures for house owners, estate agents and letting companies:
1. Conduct frequent checks of the property at different times of the day to note any signs of trespassing or interference.
2. Install a burglar alarm and set it.
3. Secure all doors and windows with deadbolt locks.
4. Install timers on internal lights and motion detectors on external lights to make the house appear occupied and offer natural surveillance of the property.
5. Ensure that the building doesn't look neglected. Cut the grass and hedges regularly.
6. Remove rubbish from inside the building and around the perimeter.
7. Report any suspicious activity to the local Gardaí.
8. Inform the local Garda station about the premises being vacant to afford passing attention on patrols.
9. Put measures in place to protect empty buildings against arson, theft and vandalism, and
10. Be aware of duty of care to anyone that enters the property - from trespassers to members of the fire services. If the property is left in a dangerous state, the owner may be liable for any injury caused.
This list is not exhaustive. For additional Crime Prevention and Reduction Advice, check out the Crime Prevention Tab on the Garda website where you will find contact details for the local Divisional Crime Prevention Officer.

If you would like to comment, or make suggestions about this document and its contents, please contact us at:

An Garda Síochána
National Crime Prevention Unit
Community Relations & Community Policing Division
Garda Headquarters
Harcourt Square
Dublin 2.

Tel: +353 1 666 3669 / 666 3313

Fax: +353 1 666 3314