CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT David Sheahan will use the full force of gardai at his command this winter to tackle burglaries as part of Operation Thor.
The head of the Limerick garda division has spoken to allay any fears the public may have as the nights close in. The new national anti-burglary plan – entitled Operation Thor – has funding of €5 million to crackdown on crime. As of this Tuesday the number of burglaries in Limerick in 2015 shows a 9% increase compared to the same date in 2014.
“From a crime prevention point of view we will certainly be targeting the main prolific people that we believe to be involved in burglaries - travelling gangs and indigenous criminals.
“We will have high visibility patrolling in known hot-spot burglary areas. To do that we have the benefit of our crime analyst who will be able to identify the key areas. Using GPS co-ordinates of where these incidents occur we are very simply able to determine the areas that are likely to be subject to burglaries.
“The focus of the activity will be preventing offences from occurring in the first place and if they have occurred recognising the areas,” said Chief Supt Sheahan. Limerick will not be receiving any new vehicles from Operation Thor “at the moment”.
“I don’t need them currently. My vehicles are not at the end of their natural lives and are not due to be replaced yet but I am confident that if, and when, they are due to be replaced that those applications will be looked upon favourably,” said Chief Supt Sheahan, who was appointed in Limerick in 2010.
But where the county is benefitting from the plan is additional garda hours.
The number of burglaries in the Limerick division peaked in 2009 with 1,493. In 2014, they stood at 1,045 - a drop of 30% compared to 2009. That exceeded what was experienced by the rest of the southern region by 11%.
The most common items stolen in the last 10 years were cash and cheques at 30%; electronic/office equipment, 21%; DVDs, TVs, 13% and jewellery, 12%.
The 9% burglary rise from 2014 to 2015 - 834 to 910 - is predominantly in the city. Henry Street has 425 compared to 367, 16%. Roxboro Road rose from 187 to 214 - 14%. Newcastle West went from 177 to 182 - 3%. Bruff has bucked the trend with a reduction of 14% - 103 v 89. Burglars will be “marked” men.
“We will be working on the case management of prolific offenders. If we have prolific offenders operating in the area we will mark them to the point that we will make sure they are going to court and objections to bail will be made, and also make sure their lives are more difficult than what they were,” said Chief Supt Sheahan. Critical to the success of this operation is working in partnership with local communities and organisations, he says. Another aspect is creating awareness of what the public can do to improve security.
“What I am really trying to do is get the message out that we are tackling burglars. We have got assistance. It is amazing what community resilience can achieve. I as a member of An Garda Siochana, or An Garda Siochana as a whole, can’t solve all the problems but we are there to work with and assist our communities at all times,” concluded Chief Supt Sheahan.