Westmeath experienced a significant rise in the rate of burglaries in 2017 with a 44 per cent increase, according to PhoneWatch's Annual Burglary Report.
While there was a three per cent increase in the number of burglaries nationwide, the report shows significant regional variations.
In total there were 347 burglaries in Westmeath last year. This equates to 11 burglaries per 1,000 homes, which is equal to the national average. The busiest Garda stations in the county were Athlone (126 ), Mullingar (97 ) and Kilbeggan (24 ), while the quietest were Glasson and Ballymore with five each.
Speaking about the figures, PhoneWatch managing director, Eoin Dunne, said: “Burglary remains all too common in Ireland and it is concerning that so many counties, including Westmeath, experienced significant increases last year.
“After several years of welcome falls any increase is burglary is a concern, but it is vital that efforts are taken to address the blackspots. This responsibility falls on all of us. Homeowners must take proactive steps to protect their homes and neighbours should be vigilant for one another.”
“With the summer hopefully around the corner there are specific risks that can be avoided," Mr Dunne continued. "Burglary, thankfully, remains a largely opportunistic crime, so homeowners can make their homes considerably safer by taking simple precautions and steps to make their homes less vulnerable.
"PhoneWatch research shows that almost 40 per cent of burglars enter through the back of the house. This can often be as windows and doors are left open in warmer weather. Garden tools are also often used as implements to gain access to houses, while unlocked garages and sheds can prove easy targets.”