Burglaries halved to 6,000 thanks to tougher laws and targeting travelling gangs
Tougher burglary laws targeting repeat offenders and a special operation focused on travelling criminals have contributed to the number of residential burglaries during winter months being halved.
Gardaí say residential burglaries fell by 50pc nationally between winter 2014/2015 and winter 2018/2019.
According to Garda figures, this involved a drop from 12,057 reported burglaries to 5,997 during the months between October and March.
Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll said much of the success was down to Operation Thor, which involves targeted enforcement and preventative activity, designed to prevent potential burglars from exploiting reduced hours of daylight. A key aspect of the operation has been the targeting of organised crime gangs, with numerous arrests of inter-regional travelling criminals who use high-powered getaway vehicles.
Checkpoints were identified as another key aspect to reducing burglaries, providing a visible deterrent.
Assistant Commissioner O'Driscoll said legislation introduced in 2016 to make it harder for suspected burglars to get bail also helped to drive down burglary levels.
A further factor was that the new law allows for the imposition of consecutive sentences for multiple burglary offences.
The assistant commissioner said a situation had existed where burglars who were facing charges and knew they were likely to go to prison felt they had nothing to lose if they committed a few more burglaries while out on bail.
"But clearly that scenario can be prevented from arising where the court can, if possible, ensure they are prevented from being on bail," he told the Irish Independent.
Assistant Commissioner O'Driscoll also said the use of consecutive sentences had been "effective".