Ten worst burglars get chance to turn backs on offending
PROLIFIC burglars will be given a chance to go straight under a new garda scheme.
Operation Opt In Acer is a pilot scheme designed to steer the top 10 burglars operating in Tallaght and Rathfarnham back on to the straight and narrow.
Repeat offenders will be invited to sign up to the scheme while they are still in prison.
On their early release they will be assigned a case worker and be in touch with the gardai and prison and probation services.
Case workers will strive to keep offenders out of trouble.
The will check the garda records system every day to ensure their 'client' has not been caught thieving.
If a person re-offends their early release will be immediately revoked and they will be returned to jail.
Details of the programme were announced at a recent South Dublin Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting.
Figures presented to the meeting show that burglaries in the south Dublin communities are on the increase.
In the first six months of this year, break-ins in Tallaght jumped 70pc from 246 incidents in 2014 to 418 this year.
In Rathfarnham, burglaries have increased 57pc. Between January and June last year there were 160. This year 251 have been recorded.
Speaking at the meeting, Supt Peter Duff, from Tallaght, said the uptake for the scheme had been good.
"It's only in its infancy, but so far there has been a willingness to engage on behalf of the offenders," he said.
"Some of them genuinely want to break the cycle of crime and others saw no way out other than through crime.
"Because they now have an individual case manager, they can assist them in things like filling out forms.
"This pilot is running in areas where burglaries are happening, and there is another pilot scheme in the Kevin Street area in the city."
Independent councillor Deirdre Donovan, who chairs the area's JPC, welcomed the news that gardai were trying new ways to tackle residential crime.
Opt in Acer is part of Operation Acer, which was launched in 2012 to tackle burglaries in the capital.
In the interim, more than 5,000 arrests have been carried out.
However as revealed in the Herald, only a fifth of these arrests have led to convictions.