The Malta Independent 23 August 2019, Friday

Keep surprises for your holiday, not for when you return: tips to reduce chances of burglarly

Giulia Magri Sunday, 23 June 2019, 11:30 Last update: about 3 months ago

Last Wednesday, 19 June, was established as the first EU Focus Day on the prevention of domestic burglary.

Malta is one of the members of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN), along with other law enforcement agencies in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland and Romania, to join forces to prevent domestic burglary in the EU. EUCPN’s aim is to step up the fight against burglaries and to inform EU citizens on what they can do to prevent burglaries themselves.

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The EU-wide Focus Day, financed by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union, will become a yearly event, with the aim of encouraging citizens to protect their home by the use of a prevention campaign and local preventive initiatives. The campaign slogan ‘Keep the surprises for your holiday!’ includes a poster, flyer and three short social media posts.

Due to the absence of a spoken language, the social media posts can easily reach a large audience. Each post shows holidaymakers how their home was burgled while they were enjoying their holiday. In addition, the municipalities of several countries will organise events that focus on the prevention of domestic burglary.

Whilst last year saw the Maltese reported crime rate fall by six per cent overall, cases involving domestic burglary still occur. Last year there were 654 reported cases involving thefts from homes across Malta and Gozo.

Theft from Residences in 2018

According to the Malta Observatory Annual Crime Review of 2018, no local councils registered having more than five times the national average of offences. The Relative Index of Spatial Crime (RISC) assessment still includes Bormla, St Julian’s and Għargħur, the latter registered within the 2x-5x RISC. The localities recording up to twice the average rate of burglaries includes Zebbug (Gozo), St Paul’s Bay, Xgħajra, Msida, Balzan, Marsa, Ta’ Xbiex, Iklin, Hamrun,  Qala, Floriana, Sliema, Paola, Gzira, Birzebbugia, Santa Venera and Zebbug (Malta).

In contrast, most other areas have lower than average rates and Nadur, Safi, Mqabba, San Lawrenz and Mdina registered none at all in 2018.

There are certain times during the year, such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve when, over most of Europe, there is a higher incidence of residential burglaries than others.  In Malta, apart from those dates, Notte Bianca, Good Friday, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and village feasts provide ample opportunity for potential criminals

Significant ways to make your home safer when you are away

 

Before you go on holiday, it is extremely important that you do everything possible to prevent any break-ins so that you can have a relaxing holiday and come back to a safe home. These include:

1.Telling your neighbours that you will be away so that they can keep an eye on your property.

2. Setting a timer for lights to go on and off at times when you are usually at home and during the night so that your home appears to be occupied.

3. Making sure that all windows are closed completely and locked.

4. Double locking the doors.

5. If you have a garage, ensuring that the door is shut all the way down.

6. Leaving a contact number with a neighbour so that you can be contacted in the event of an emergency.

7. Setting  a security alarm.

8. Not announcing your holiday plans publicly on social media for any potential burglar to see.

9. Keeping all your valuables locked up in a fixed safe.

 

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