Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Garda operation has cut robberies by a third over the last four months

Gardai mount a checkpoint as part of Operation Thor
Gardai mount a checkpoint as part of Operation Thor
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Burglaries have dropped by a third nationwide since the launch of a new garda anti-crime initiative four months ago.

Operation Thor, which was put into action in November with additional manpower resources and ring-fenced funding from the Government, has seriously curbed the activities of the major travelling gangs, which have been inflicting misery on vulnerable targets in rural areas over the past few years.

Provisional figures obtained by the Farming Independent show that the number of burglaries carried out across all regions is down substantially in the four months from early November to early March, when compared with the figures for the corresponding period in 2014/2015.

They indicate that burglaries have fallen by a record 35pc in the Garda eastern region as well as the south eastern region, which had been particularly badly hit by gangs operating out of their bases in south and west Dublin.

According to the gardai, some of the travelling gangs had the capacity to strike at up to sixteen targeted houses or business premises in a single night's crime spree in several counties.

A number of the gangs had local contacts in the south east to gather information through surveillance on likely targets and the thieves were then brought in from the capital to carry out the burglaries and robberies.

Thor has also resulted in a 25pc fall in burglaries in the northern and southern regions while the rate was down by 20pc in the west.

Thor has so far led to a total of 1,070 arrests nationwide, while gardai initiated 16,300 anti crime patrols, established 19,900 targeted checkpoints and made 9,050 searches.

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Figures across the nation show an overall drop of 36pc in residential burglary and are 30pc down for commercial and business hits.

Apart from the additional resources, Thor was also backed up by new legislation to deal with persistent offenders.

It provides for consecutive jail sentences for multiple offences and also allows the courts to refuse bail to offenders with a previous conviction for domestic burglary, coupled with two or more pending charges.

Garda case managers have been assigned to more than a hundred suspected prolific burglars to ensure judges have a clear picture of their criminal career when they are prosecuted and facing sentence.

Each of the managers has a brief to build up an individual dossier on 119 suspects and co-ordinate pending charges against them when they appear in court.

This strategy is designed to prevent suspects being charged with single offences at different courts and avoid a stretch behind bars.

The impact of Thor during its first month of operation resulted in property crime for November dropping to its lowest level for that period in 15 years.

The strategy is being implemented alongside another offender management initiative involving the gardai, prison service and probation service working together.

Measures have also been put in place to speed up communication between the garda regions.

Indo Farming