MEMBERS of several Limerick-based crime gangs will be among those targeted by gardai as part of a high-profile operation which was launched this Monday.
Operation Thor, which has taken several months to plan, will see gardai targeting those who are suspected of carrying out burglaries in Limerick and across the country.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has committed government funding of more than €5m for the operation, which was launched at Garda Headquarters.
“We are all acutely aware of the terrible impact that burglaries have on families and communities nationwide, both urban and rural. This government’s response to crime is focussed on two key objectives - investing in more gardaí and vehicles and strengthening the law to get tougher on serious and repeat offenders,” said Ms Fitzgerald, who said she is confident that the operation will be a success.
“I am confident that this comprehensive operation by An Garda Síochána, supported by government investment, will help disrupt the activities of burglars, organised crime gangs and prolific offenders and will improve the safety for all communities across the country,” she said.
As part of Operation Thor, there will be additional garda overtime, extra high-visibility patrols in identified burglary hot-spots and an increased use of checkpoints to tackle criminal gangs who use the national road network.
Over the coming weeks, gardai will also begin to roll out a fleet of new high-powered vehicles, which will be manned by armed gardai.
As part of the operation, there will be also be a focus on disrupting the sale of stolen property and a high-profile crime prevention awareness campaign will be launched later this month.
Garda Commissioner, Norín O’Sullivan, who launched Operation Thor, says the additional funding allocated by the Government, will see around 100,000 extra hours of garda patrols being rolled out in communities across the country.
“We are going to have a relentless focus on identifying, targeting, and disrupting criminals and bringing them to justice. We not only target offenders, but also their assets,” she said.
Commissioner O’Sullivan added: “Operation Thor will be intelligence-led. In developing the Operation we have used analysis of the latest crime patterns and burglary trends, research of effective burglary reduction practices, and data on criminal activity. A key strand will be working in partnership with communities to keep them safe. Great examples of this are the highly successful Text Alert, Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert schemes”.
In addition to targeting members of Limerick-based gangs, a number of repeat offenders from the city have been identified as targets as part of Operation Thor.
There has been a broad welcoming locally of the launch of Operation Thor.