Ellen Nolan from Mullingar and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan during the launch of the 'Supporting Safer Communities' campaign at Store Street station, Dublin. Above left: Crimestoppers chairman Tim Dalton. Gareth Chaney/ mark condren
THE chairman of Crimestoppers almost became a crime statistic himself -- until his wife intervened with a series of karate chops.
Tim Dalton, former secretary general of the Department of Justice, was being "dipped" by a pickpocket when his wife, Anne, spotted the thug in action.
She had been walking behind her husband as he struggled to pull their luggage aboard a train at a London Tube station.
Mr Dalton had his wallet stashed in a rear pocket of his trousers.
He was about to board the train when his wife noticed a "passenger" pretending to study a map and at the same time slip his hand into Mr Dalton's pocket.
"She came at the pickpocket from behind and struck him several times with karate chops on his arm," Mr Dalton said.
"The pickpocket seemed to be completely taken aback and fled empty-handed while other female passengers in the carriage applauded and shouted their approval."
Mr Dalton recalled the incident, which took place last month, as he attended the launch of a garda and Crimestoppers campaign yesterday, urging people to mind their personal property and help combat the thieves and the burglars.
"I suppose the lesson to be learnt from the incident is never keep your wallet in a back pocket and always keep your wife behind you as a bodyguard," Mr Dalton joked.
But he highlighted the serious side of personal crime and he urged victims to report their experiences to their local garda station.
He said anybody with information that could help solve a crime should contact the gardai or Crimestoppers in confidence on 1800 250025.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said that community safety was everyone's responsibility and asked people to keep their eyes and ears open to help reduce crime and road deaths.
He pointed out that almost a quarter of burglaries took place between 12pm and 4pm, with Thursday and Friday the most likely days for a break-in. Entry is gained through the front door in one-third of burglaries.
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association national president Gabriel Gilmartin revealed that farm crime was rising at a rate of 5pc a year.
"As the recession has worsened, farmers have been targeted by criminals as a way to make money," he said.