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*Photograph: John Mangan

Gardaí have cautioned owners of vacant sites to stay vigilant during the current health crisis and encouraged homeowners to put on house alarms when doing their 2km exercise.

Restrictions on the public’s movement continues for another three weeks but An Garda Síochána have advised individuals to have preparations in place at unoccupied locations in their ownership.

“Vacant sites may attract unwanted activity, such as anti-social behaviour, theft or damage to valuable equipment and materials,” crime prevention officer, Tríona Brooks cautioned.

She advised that the site’s perimeter be secured and encouraged regular inspections for damage or signs of entry by using CCTV, sensors and security patrols. “Consider monitored CCTV and alarms for vacant sites, mobile systems are available which can operate independently of site power.

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“Lighting is an important security tool and may deter trespassers and reinforce the security of the site. The security lighting should be seen from outside the site. Lighting should complement alarm and CCTV systems”.

When it comes to plant and machinery, Tríona said that keys should be stored safely away from vehicles. “Where the site is due to be vacant for a period of time, keys should be kept off site where possible. Consider GPS tracking devices for large vehicles. Photograph, clearly mark and record serial numbers of all equipment. Ensuring equipment is clearly marked may be a deterrent for theft.

Signage is a low cost and extremely effective way of keeping a sight secure and deterring potential trespassers. Engaging Security guarding services can be extremely effective in ensuring the site is kept secure. This solution provides the site owners with a visible human security presence and can often be the best deterrent”.

For the general public, Gardaí have advised ensuring lights are kept on inside and outside when going for a 2km walk, run or cycle and to ensure the house alarm is on. “Do not keep large amounts of cash at home and keep valuables and keys out of sight”.

Individuals are also reminded to be alert to telephone and online scams while it is advised by Gardaí not to share any personal or financial data. “Keep unexpected callers out of your house and use your door chain or limiter and always ask for ID”.

In an emergency dial 999 /112.

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