BURGLARIES are still on the rise in the Balbriggan district but the rate of increase is falling as initiatives like operation Acer begin to make a difference on the ground.
The district which covers Balbriggan, Skerries, Rush, Lusk and other parts of north Fingal has seen 225 burglaries in the first eight months of this year, 22 more than at the same time last year. But gardaí in Balbriggan say they are getting to grips with this and other types of crime through their participation in a number of special operations including ACER, Aimsir, Anvil, Creepe, Fiacla, Gling, Laidir, Lush, Helmet and Hybrid. According to Balbriggan gardaí: 'Designated checkpoints and mobile, pedal and foot patrols with both uniform and plain clothes units has significantly helped the detection of crime and i-visibility policing through the district.
'The implementation of the new and revised Garda roster has assisted in getting more feet on the beat through overlapping working tours at peak times.' Specifically on the burglary of homes lived in by elderly people, which was a real problem in the area earlier in the year, the local gardaí said: 'A number of offenders have been successfully prosecuted for burglary offences, specifically burglaries concerning older persons and 'distraction burglaries'.
'The Garda statistics, which are provisional and only become official when the CSO publishes them at a later date, says that shops have been targetted by thieves in the district too with the number of 'robberies from an establishment' rising from six to 16 over the same period. Shoplifting saw a major increase too from 76 incidents of the crime in the first eight months of 2011, rising to 96 in the first eight months of this year. The community will welcome a fall in violent crime in the area with the incidence of assaults causing harm falling dramatically from 21 to just two and public order also on a downward trend from 209 to 148. One message constantly delivered by local gardaí in recent months seems to be finally hitting home as theft from cars has fallen substantially.
This kind of crime was a scourge across Fingal earlier in the year but now appears to be falling with 159 incidents recorded in the first eight months last year and just 114 in the same period in 2012. Balbriggan gardaí are progressing their 'Older Persons Strategy' through its community policing unit which has created a 'call back system' for any person over 65 years who is a victim of crime. Members of the unit also regularly visit the senior citizen centres in Balbriggan and Skerries as well as other senior citizen groups in the district to give advice on personal safety.
Tackling youth crime and trying to keep local youths on the straight and narrow is another objective of the community policing unit and to that end it has hailed its FAI Late Night Leagues as a successful initiative. There are three Garda officers attached to the unit in Balbriggan. The station also has a drug unit and in this report, it says it ' continues to work in cooperation with the Garda National Drugs Unit' and adds: 'Significant seizures of drugs for sale and supply have been detected.' Finally, Balbriggan gardaí continue to monitor Balbriggan Sunday Market for illegal goods and have recorded ' large seizures of counterfeit DVDs, CDs, tobacco products and stole property'.