Garda blitz to target burglar gangs in Dublin
Gardai have launched a blitz on burglars in the capital, with rolling checkpoints in areas hit hard by break-ins.
Units based in Santry Garda Station have been seen setting up the checkpoints and stopping motorists going into areas, checking their details, and advising them on burglary protection.
A number of vehicles were seized in the Coolock area yesterday as the garda initiative swung into action. There were visible patrols on the Clonshaugh Road, Clonshaugh Avenue, and Newbury areas of the north Dublin suburb.
"The region has been hit hard by burglaries and this is a way of alerting the public but also trying to disrupt the activities of burglars," one source told the Herald.
The patrols and checkpoints are co-ordinated in such a way that anyone trying to avoid them is likely to get caught at a similar checkpoint a number of streets away.
While one could be seen in operation on Clonshaugh Road yesterday morning, a similar garda operation was under way on Clonshaugh Avenue.
Unmarked garda cars were parked in side streets, providing back-up to garda cars and vans.
Checks were made on tax, insurance and NCT compliance, and motorists were given bilingual crime prevention leaflets.
"Areas of north Dublin are being hit hard by burglaries. I have heard of six or seven in the Kilmore and Riverside areas in recent weeks and they are happening in the daytime too," said local Fianna Fail Councillor Tom Brabazon.
"In many of these areas the age profile is older and many people are retired, so they are in their homes for longer periods of the day and they have a genuine fear that they will be targeted while they are at home and vulnerable.
"The burglars are getting more brazen and anything that the gardai are doing in a proactive sense to try to tackle the problem is to be welcomed."
The anti-burglary drive comes on the back of the "Lock Up And Light Up" campaign that is part of the wider Operation Thor, launched by the Garda National Crime Prevention Unit with the aim of reducing risk from burglaries.
Nearly half of burglaries (46pc) occur between 5pm and 11pm and, with the clocks due to go back this weekend, it means more hours of darkness and a higher risk or burglaries.
Meanwhile, the practice of 'fishing', where car keys are taken through a letterbox, also remains a problem, with 163 cases reported to gardai over the 12-month period from July 2015 to June 2016.
"Burglaries have traditionally risen during the longer winter nights. Locking up and lighting up over the coming months could be the difference between making your home safe and making it vulnerable," said Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit.