Superintendent Derek Smart is leading crackdown
THE TOP garda responsible for the latest crackdown on retail crime in Limerick city centre has said that a number of arrests have been made following the launch of a new policing operation.
To combat the surge in criminals wreaking havoc among the business community, Henry Street superintendent Derek Smart launched Operation Mierle, which has seen high-visibility of gardai on the streets over the past number of weeks.
Shop thefts, between January and March this year, increased by 25% in comparison to the same timeframe last year in the Henry Street district.
There were 172 reported shop thefts between January and March this year, while there were 142 reported thefts last year.
There were 61 reported incidents in the Roxboro Road district, a small decrease of five reported shop thefts on last year’s figures.
Supt Smart said Operation Mierle consists of “proactive policing” of the city from 7am to 3am, targeting known shoplifters.
“In that instance, we have had a number of successes where we had one person who had 10 different theft charges, is now in custody before the court. Another person, a female, she had over 14 separate charges of theft in a number of different shops around the city centre. She is in custody before the court,” he said.
Supt Smart said it is important that the business community engages with the gardai in relation to criminal activity in the area.
“We are there, we are actively on the street, and we will continue to do that. We will endeavour to engage with all shop owners around the city centre. We welcome people to come and talk to us. We have met a number of shop owners and we are in the process of attempting to set up a business watch group in the city centre, on par with a neighbourhood watch which would see around the suburbs.”
He said people who wish to organise major events, such as festivals, can contact the community policing for assistance.