Waterford people are being advised to take a number of precautions to prevent their homes from being burgled when going on holidays.
Many people will set off for the sun in the coming weeks, and local Gardai are advising the public to be as vigilant as possible.
Garda Mark Gavin told this week's Waterford Garda Watch of some of the steps you can take to protect your home.
Speaking to WLR, he said, "That time of the year again when people will be heading off on their summer vacations. Before you go, find out about the place you are visiting. Is it safe for visitors? Are there local laws or customs which are different from ours at home that people should be aware of?"
"Inform a trusted neighbor or a relative as to your travel arrangements, intended destination, and contact details. Do not unwittingly advertise your travel arrangements to others. Gardaí would recommend you invite your neighbor to make use of your driveway and to park a car while you are away."
In the last three months of 2022, Waterford had the highest increase in burglary levels of any county (54%), according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Garda Gavin continued, "Arrange to have your lawn mowed if possible, particularly when absent for long periods in the summer. Cancel your milk and paper deliveries, and arrange for a neighbor or relative to collect your mail from your mailbox. Make full use of lighting devices, and do not have your curtains drawn during the daytime."
In a study accompanying the figures, alarm company Phonewatch outlined that three out of every four homeowners hold concerns about being burgled.
72% of Irish homeowners are concerned about a break-in in their homes, with over a third (39%) feeling worried when home alone. The time of year has a huge impact on how safe people feel, with over half (58%) feeling least protected throughout the winter months and 64% feeling particularly unsafe at night-time.
"If you have a domestic alarm," Garda Gavin said, "inform your monitoring centre of your absence, and ensure any nominated key holders will attend promptly to any notification. You can notify your local Garda station if you are absent for a period of time. We also ask that people invest in a quality safe for any valuables they may have. Carry out a housekeeping exercise around the grounds of your home, and remove and secure any unsecured items."
For your latest Waterford News and Sport, click here