Listen: An open door invitation for Limerick burglars

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Sergeant Ber Leech, Limerick Crime Prevention Officer. Pic: Cian Reinhardt
Sergeant Ber Leech, Limerick Crime Prevention Officer. Pic: Cian Reinhardt

ONE in six burglars in Limerick don’t even have to do the ‘breaking’ part of breaking and entering because home-owners leave windows and doors open to make it easy for them.

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That was the startling revelation from Limerick Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Ber Leetch at last week’s Cappamore/Kilmallock district meeting of Limerick City and County Council.

Sgt Leetch was invited by councillors to talk to them about crime prevention.

“Burglars who are in prison and are asked what is the greatest deterrent to them breaking into a premises – you would expect them to say ‘an alarm’ or ‘a big dog’ but it is actually evidence of occupation,” the sergeant told the council meeting.

She said that while alarms, monitored or otherwise, are always a good deterrent, there are cheaper effective methods.

“Burglars don’t want to get caught so they are always looking out for an easy target. The nosy neighbour is the greatest asset in these cases.

“I advise people to make the front of their homes visible – lower the height of hedges or shrubbery so that neighbours can see any unusual activity.”

Limerick’s only designated crime prevention officer said that leaving lights and a radio on a timer, leaving children’s toys on the front lawn are all ways of putting doubt in a potential burglar’s mind.

“I tell women living on their own to get a pair of size eleven or twelve wellingtons and leave them at the backdoor or in the porch. Leave a newspaper thrown down on a table or chair where it can be seen from a window and leave an old pair of men’s glasses on top of it, Burglars are much less likely to want to be confronted by a man if they get into a house”.

She also had advice about online and phone scams as well as confidence tricksters who call to the door, supposedly to do work and then disappear when they have been paid.

“If someone calls to your door out of the blue and offer to do work, be suspicious. The same thing applies to people who make offers that seem too good to be true over the telephone or online.

“If you are plagued with constant phone calls, “consider changing the number and go ex-directory. Most people have had the same number for years and it can have been circulated anywhere. With the new laws on Data Protection, it is much harder for criminals to get their hands on a new phone number.”