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Is this the worst time of year for burglaries? Here is how your area fares

Crime rates around the country do not fall evenly.

burglary image - 1 Statista Statista

IT IS THIS time of year when the public are warned to extra vigilant when it comes to avoiding burglaries.

The dark evenings make houses around the country easy targets for would-be criminals.

As part of the launch of its new anti-crime strategy Operation Thor earlier this week, the gardaí recommended that people:

Have an alarm, light up their home this winter, lock their doors and windows and sheds, and join or set-up a local crime prevention scheme.

A figure that is widely quoted is that burglaries in the winter shoot up by 25% – a figure presented as part of An Garda Síochána’s Winter Burglary Prevention strategy last year.

winter burglary strategy - 1 An Garda Siochana An Garda Siochana

Nationally, Ireland has seen an overall increase in the number of burglaries in the past 10 years.

In 2004 there 24,913 burglaries across Ireland – a number that was up to 27,625 last year – a national increase of 10%.

burglary nationally CSO CSO

As part of Operation Thor, a spike in burglaries is noted between the hours of 5pm and 10pm during winters.

While there may be more burglaries during this time of the evening, is it universally true that we are now in the most dangerous time of the year for break ins overall?

Nationally speaking, the answer is yes.

Looking back over the past 10 years, the fourth and first quarters can be seen as times when houses around the country are most at risk.

In 2014, there was over 2,000 more burglaries in the fourth quarter than in the second quarter, with the figure rising from 5,975 up to 8,259 – an increase of 38%.

crime per quarter past 10 years Rate of burglaries per quarter over the past 10 years CSO / CSO / /

Some places are worse than others 

However, when this is broken down county by county, some places see much more dramatic spikes than others, with some counties reporting less incidents during the winter than the summer.

Specifically, the stats show that there is less change in the northern region that takes in the garda divisions Cavan/ Monaghan, Donegal, Sligo/ Leitrim and Louth, and the western region which takes in the garda divisions of Clare, Mayo, Galway and Roscommon/ Longford.

In the northern region last year there was an increase of only 3% between the spring months and the winter months, rising from 545 to 562.

Last year in Donegal there were more burglaries in the Spring than in the Winter – dropping from 106 down to 95, a decrease of around 10% – although the number of burglaries in the first quarter was substantially higher.

donegal burglaries

In the western region there was a change of 5% between the number of burglaries in the spring and winter months – rising from 478 up to 501.

In Mayo last year there were 73 reported burglaries in the second quarter compared to 75 reported incidents between October and December.

Other times of the year

It is worth noting that the comparison between second quarter and fourth quarter is not always totally reflective of seasonal rises in crime.

In areas where a notable rise in incidents is not seen in the last three months of the year there is often a spike in the dark months after 1 January.

For example, the figures in Mayo show a difference of only two incidents between the second quarter and the fourth quarter – in the first quarter of last year there were 20 more burglaries than between April and June – an increase of almost 30%.

The Galway garda division also mirrored this pattern.

Between January and March last year there were 299 burglaries, a number that dropped to 239 between April and June, with 223 incidents between October and December.

Worst hit areas

Around the rest of the country are the Dublin area; the eastern region, which features the garda divisions of Laois, Offaly, Meath, Wicklow, Westmeath and Kildare; the southern region, which features garda divisions covering Cork, Kerry and Limerick and; the south east region, which features the garda divisions of Tipperary, Wexford, Kilkenny/ Carlow and Waterford.

Dublin is one of the worst hit areas, seeing a spike of 53% last year, rising from 2,559 in the spring months to 3,935 between October and December.

shutterstock_205699336 Dublin is one of the areas worst hit by winter burglaries Shutterstock / Lucian Milasan Shutterstock / Lucian Milasan / Lucian Milasan

In the eastern region last year between the second and fourth quarters, incidents rose from 1,039 up to 1,480 – a jump of 42%, with a 1,203 between January and March last year. 

In the southern region last year the number of incidents rose from 650 up to 736 between the spring and the winter.

In the south east, there were more than 300 more incidents in the winter months – rising from 704 between April and June to 1,045 between October and December – an increase of 48%.

The Waterford region saw a particularly dramatic jump – going from 158 in the spring to 252 in the winter.

The statistics in this article are taken from CSO data and mostly focus on the figures for 2014 – they should not be taken as a factor when considering home security. 

Read: Gardaí are cracking down on Ireland’s most prolific burglars

Also: Medicine used to euthanise animals stolen from veterinary surgery in Dublin

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