Gardaí in Portlaoise have called for help from other units to try and control theft and burglaries in the area.
Inspector Declan Dunne said that the Gardaí were not ignorant to the fact that it was happening.
“We are trying to utilise the units that are not attached to Portlaoise to control the situation,” he said.
39 burglaries occurred in the Portlaoise area over the months of December, January and February last, it was revealed at the Portlaoise Town Joint Policing Committee Meeting.
Members of the Gardaí and Portlaoise Town Council attended the meeting on March 4 in County Hall, Portlaoise.
Cllr Willie Aird said that the problem was making people, especially the elderly and vulnerable, very scared.
“Theft is a huge problem in the town and rural areas.
“The groups engaging in these crimes nowadays are very violent, and people are petrified in their own homes.
“There isn’t a farmer in the area that hasn’t been targeted, and there is a need for extra security,” he said.
Inspector Dunne said that the Gardaí in Portlaoise were analysing these crime trends on a daily basis.
Portlaoise Garda Station has a record of all the elderly people in the area, and the Gardaí have been paying visits to these people as part of the Community Policing Initiative.
They Neighbourhood Watch and the Community Alert services are also in place to try and tackle the issue.
Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said that despite all of this, the elderly were still living in fear.
“The Community Alert is a great service and has made a difference none the less, but these people are still living in fear. It is very worrying, and a huge concern,” she said.
Overall crime in Portlaoise fell by 20 per cent for the year in review, Inspector Dunne revealed at the meeting.
Burglaries are down 19 per cent since last year, while there has also been a 5 per cent drop in theft and theft related offences.
Criminal damage offences saw a major reduction of 50 per cent.
A number of issues were discussed at the meeting, including anti-social behaviour, crime prevention, drugs and alcohol, community policing, support for the elderly, and traffic offences.
Cllr Kathleen O’Brien said that the presence of the Gardaí on the streets of Portlaoise on the weekends nowadays was very good and provided a much safer environment.
The Gardaí urged the public to contact them if they have any problems regarding the issues raised.