West Dublin still burglary hotspot despite fall in numbers nationwide
There was a significant rise in burglaries in parts of Dublin and its wider commuter belt last year, despite an overall fall in the crime nationally.
An analysis of crime figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows a sharp increase in burglaries in west Dublin as well as some counties surrounding the capital.
The most significant was in Wicklow where burglaries rose by 37pc to 681 and Westmeath where they were up 25pc to 309.
Other counties to buck the national trend included Donegal - up 16pc to 262 - and Kildare, up 9pc to almost 1,000. Overall, there was a 1.1pc fall in burglaries reported to gardai last year - down 194 to 16,772.
It is the lowest recorded figure in almost 20 years for break-ins to residential and business premises, which peaked in 2012 with almost 28,500 burglaries.
Gardai attributed the fall to the impact of Operation Thor, which was introduced in November 2015 and targeted criminal gangs and repeat offenders.
The CSO figures, based on offences recorded on the garda Pulse system, show burglaries rose in 12 of the 28 garda divisions last year. They included four of the six divisions in Dublin where the overall number of burglaries was up by 1pc, with the biggest increase recorded in the city's western suburbs.
The total number of burglaries in the Dublin West division, which covers areas including Blanchardstown, Finglas, Clondalkin, Ballyfermot and Lucan, during 2019 was 1,812 - the biggest in the State.
The figures were up almost 300 over the number of burglaries recorded in the division in 2018 - an annual increase of 18pc. The number of burglaries reported in the Clondalkin area alone jumped by 52pc to 307.
The station in Blanchardstown recorded the most burglaries in the State last year with 514 - up 14pc.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar raised the high number of burglaries in the area with the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, at the end of last year.
Local Fianna Fail TD Jack Chambers said the scale of the increase in the Dublin West division was "very concerning".
"We need to ensure that high visibility patrols and gardai out on the beat in communities is maintained so that people can feel safe and secure in their own homes," he said.
The effect of a heavy garda presence to tackle gang feuds in Dublin's north inner city and in Drogheda also appears to have had a major impact on burglary rates in the two areas.
There was a 23pc decrease in burglaries in the Dublin North Central division last year, a 22pc fall in Co Louth in 2019 with the most significant decrease in the county in Drogheda, where burglaries fell by 44pc - from 278 in 2018 to 156 last year.
In contrast, Wicklow experienced a surge in burglaries during 2019 with large increases noted in several towns, including Greystones (up 55pc to 124), Bray (up 20pc to 176) and Wicklow (up 71pc to 65).