It has been a mixed year for the gardai in their ongoing war on crime. They have successfully curbed a soaring increase in burglaries that was causing a major headache for the authorities in the first couple of months of 2012.
And their much-lauded Operation Fiacla, which tackled the travelling gangs largely responsible for the spate of break-ins and thefts, also introduced a number of measures that can be put to good use in the future.
Crime figures generally fell in 12 out of the 14 categories, according to the latest reports published by the central statistics office.
The one big blemish is the worrying rise in the number of murders, particularly those that are being officially linked to organised crime gangs, where the toll has more than trebled from four to 14.
Last year's total for gangland victims was remarkably low, by the standards set in the previous decade and it was always unlikely that it could be repeated or bettered in 2012.
But the size of the increase is a cause for concern, even if two of the victims had been killed in previous years before their bodies were found this year and there had been two double murders in March.
Most of the focus in gangland had been on the clashes between rival groups as the profits from the drugs trade plummeted because of the fall-off in demand for cocaine, but looming large in the background was the menacing figure of Alan Ryan, then leader of a Real IRA faction, which was putting pressure on the gangsters to pay them a dividend from their trafficking income.
Ryan's murder in September was inevitable as gang bosses grew weary of his attempts to "muscle" them into submission to his demands and some of the main players cooperated to organise a hit.
The paramilitary display at the terrorist's funeral alarmed the public and sparked a fresh crackdown by the gardai on dissident republican groups, a move that yielded fresh intelligence on their activities and plans.
The Real IRA had also been planning its response and targeted Eamon Kelly, who was regarded as the godfather of gangland and an adviser to many of the crime bosses in the past.
Some of the bosses, who had disappeared from their usual haunts following the Ryan shooting, have returned to Dublin in recent weeks and gardai remain on full alert to prevent further bloodshed.
The reduction in garda numbers spurred on the authorities to rely more on what they described as "smart" policing with intelligence-led operations targeting suspects, who were regarded as key drivers in serious crime.
The concept has been implemented in a range of crime categories from armed robbery to drug trafficking, where in excess of €90m worth of drugs were seized in the first nine months of the year, more than the total for all of 2011. The gardai also got to grips with the phenomenal increase in cannabis growhouses.
And while Chinese and Vietnamese gardeners are being imported here to look after the growhouses home-bred criminals are continuing to travel overseas to develop their international connections in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan revealed that organised crime bosses, who run 25 major gangs here, are now forging closer links with Russian mobsters to expand their empires.
But the big success story from the garda point of view has been Fiacla and the six regional operations feeding into it.
It was launched at the end of February to disrupt and eliminate the gangs believed to be behind the massive upsurge in aggravated burglaries and distraction thefts across the country .
Fiacla resulted in a number of initiatives, including the appointment of a case officer to handle each targeted suspect.
This led to a more streamlined approach towards building up a case against the target and also ensured that all available evidence against him would be fed into one channel and would be brought before one court. Some of the main targets are also currently under investigation by the criminal assets bureau.
With the row over the planned closure of a hundred garda stations in the first six months of 2013 far from over, particularly in rural areas, it is vital for the gardai to provide reassurance to the vulnerable communities that the policy of focusing on people rather than buildings will pay dividends and the reign of the hit-and-run burglar is over.