Burglaries are often carried out using a simple screwdriver or by breaking a window to gain entry
Thieves take more than just valuables when they burgle homes--they also steal a person’s feeling of safety. Luxembourg Police chief commissioner for crime prevention Marc Ragnacci told Delano how residents can help themselves.
Marc Ragnacci has been with the police 28 years, the last 13 of which have seen him working on the crime prevention team. I meet him at the grand ducal police stand at the Home Living fair in October at Luxexpo, where he demonstrates one of the secure window locks that he recommends for homeowners. It is one of several security systems that are featured in the police showroom back at their headquarters in Findel. “Do not give the burglar an opportunity to easily enter your home. In case of absence, even for a short period of time, close all of your windows and doors and activate your alarm system,” he explains.
Ragnacci and his colleague carry out around 300 free home visits each year, to give an objective home security assessment. Of that number, a third are carried out after the home has been burgled. The cost of a simple security system in a family home can vary from €2,500 to €5,000. It’s the cost of a holiday, says Ragnacci, and money well spent.
“It’s normal to install these things. Because we’ve seen what people are like after they’ve been burgled. It’s not just valuables that are stolen. Above all, it’s the feeling of security in their home that’s gone,” he says.
Among the over 3000 burglaries carried out in Luxembourg each year, Ragnacci says most were carried out using a simple screwdriver or by breaking a window and reaching a hand inside to open it. He says that some people mistakenly think that any triple glazed window will prevent this from happening. Ragnacci advises residents to install windows with a security rating, and the possibility to lock them with a key.
Cameras are becoming more accessible thanks to applications and technology that connect them to smartphone devices. Photo: Shutterstock
Alarms in private homes are also becoming more common, thanks to new technological innovations, which enable the installation of battery-powered wireless sensors. When installing an alarm, Ragnacci says it is “important to have an outside alarm that makes a noise. You notice it more and burglars tend to target houses that don’t have these sorts of systems.” He also stresses the importance of making the alarm visible, switching it on each time you leave the house and ensuring it is regularly maintained.
The use of cameras as part of a security strategy is another growing trend, particularly those connected to smart phone devices. When installing cameras, residents should be aware that under law they are not permitted to film public areas or neighbours’ properties.
Investing in home security does not always have to be a financial burden. The officer explained that getting to know one’s neighbours and informing them when you’ll be on holiday can ensure greater vigilance. The Luxembourg Police also offers holiday home patrols to residents, known as the “départ de vacances” scheme. “It’s a free service available all year round. We’re not there 24/7,” he says. Ragnacci also advises residents to keep a record of their valuables, take photos, hold onto receipts. In the event that they are burgled and the stolen items are recovered, it will help reunite the victims with their possessions.
Place your cursor on the line of the graph to show the data for each year.
Burglary numbers remaining constant
Barring a blip in 2014, burglary numbers have remained more or less stable in Luxembourg during the last seven years, with 3,667 recorded in 2018. In 2014, there was a spike during the winter months as criminals took advantage of the dark evenings, striking at around 5pm before residents had finished the workday. One interesting phenomenon is that attempted break-ins are increasing, which Ragnacci interprets as a sign that his team’s awareness-raising efforts are paying off. “We noticed they didn’t succeed. [...] It can be a result of alarms, security or it could be the neighbor is paying closer attention,” he says.
To organise a home security assessment through the police crime prevention branch, email [email protected] or call (+352) 244 24 4033.