Special gardai unit is set up to tackle spike in burglaries
A NETWORK of specialist garda units are being set up to tackle a dramatic rise in burglaries across the capital, the Irish Independent has learned.
The new squads, to be known as Burglary Response Units (BRU's), will replace the six Divisional Task Forces which already operate in the garda Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR).
The directive from garda headquarters comes as figures show that burglary rates across the city jumped by over 17pc in 2014 compared to the previous year.
According to figures seen by the Irish Independent, there were 11,155 burglaries across the capital last year compared to 9,198 in 2013.
Car thefts, which are recorded as 'unauthorised takings', saw the second biggest increase year-on-year jumping by 591 offences from 2,408 in 2013 to 2,999 last year, a rise of over 16pc.
John Twomey, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) who is also the acting Deputy Commissioner, has identified burglary as the number one policing priority in the capital this year.
In the past week he has directed that all Divisional Crime Task Forces - there is one in each Division in the city - are to be re-designated as Burglary Response Units.
The BRU's will be specifically tasked with proactively identifying and targeting persistent burglars as part of Operation Acer, a long-running citywide anti-burglary investigation.
A similar operation, codenamed Fiacla, has also been running on a national basis for the past two years.
"The plan will see increased patrols in areas most affected by burglaries. These areas are identified by use of heat map analysis and there will also be a strong focus on burglars with a high re-offending rate," a source said.
As part of the initiative all gardai in the DMR will be briefed on the burglary situation in their districts and the key suspects operating in those areas before commencing their tour of duty.
Senior officers have also been instructed to ensure that burglary scenes are fully examined by forensic officers in a bid to collate finger print and DNA data to help identify and prosecute suspects.
Community police personnel will also offer advice to residents and communities in areas worst hit by the upsurge in break-ins.
The detective superintendent in each division in the city will act as Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) to oversee the new burglary units.
Gardai have previously complained that a lack of manpower makes it difficult to fully investigate burglaries and ensure that the culprits are caught.
A senior source said that there is an onus on the public to be extra vigilant also.
"We would urge people to protect their homes by having an alarm, securing all doors and windows, and lighting up their houses even when out. These simple measures can deter burglars," he said.