Breakins reported in Laois
Garda say burglaries rose until October when the targeted deployment of police under the winter phase of Operation Thor saw the rate of the crime, particularly in rural areas, decline.
Provisional Garda figures show that burglaries nationally fell by by nearly a quarter in November and December when the Operation swung into action.
Gardaí say there was rise in burglaries for a number of months up to October 2017. The Laois-Offaly Division is part of the Eastern garda region. Figures show that burglaries dropped by 29% in these counties.
A special unit was deployed in Laois Offaly in November after string of violent robberies. These included an raid by a gang on the home of a bachelor farmer in south Offaly. Richie McKelvey was beaten with bars and tied up.
In the same week a garda car was rammed near Monasterevin after a gang was pursued by gardaí accross a number of counties.
In the South Eastern Region there were 40% less burglaries reported in December compared to October. I the west of Ireland burglaries fell by a quarter while the rate was down by 22% the Southern Region. It was18% less in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), and 15% less in the Northern Region.
Gardaí say it has been established in Ireland and elsewhere that a surge in burglaries of about 20% is likely to arise in the winter months, when daylight hours are at the lowest level, in the absence of effective preventative measures.
"Having observed an increase in burglaries in September and October 2017, An Garda Síochána prepared an operational plan for a Winter Phase of Operation Thor, involving the undertaking of targeted enforcement and preventative activity, designed to prevent potential burglars from exploiting the reduced hours of daylight in the months November 2017 to April 2018.
"A key part of the Winter Phase of Operation Thor has been the targeting of organised crime gangs involved in burglaries. In recent weeks’ members of OCGs have been arrested on a number of occasions in circumstances where high powered ‘get-away’ vehicles were identified and intercepted.
"The fact that ten (10) targets who have recently been arrested in the course of Operation Thor, have accumulated a total of one-hundred and fifty-five (155) criminal convictions reflects the extent of the challenge facing An Garda Síochána in tackling the criminality involved," said a statement.
Gardaí say a critical element of Operation Thor is preventing burglaries from happening in the first place. In this regard, they say the public have a crucial to role to play in enhancing their home security.
Gardaí advised people to 'Lock Up and Light Up' as most burglaries occur between 5pm and 11pm in winter months and over 50% of burglaries take place either through the front or back door.
John O’Driscoll is Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations.
"We are particularly aware of the vulnerability of older people for whom a burglary can be a very traumatic experience and we are determined to identify and apprehend those who exploit their vulnerability. The positive start to the Winter Phase of Operation Thor is encouraging and we intend achieving more success throughout the remaining months,” he said.
Earlier this week, Assistant Commissioner O’Driscoll met with the most senior detectives in each Garda region to review activity undertaken to date under Operation Thor and plan additional actions to be taken in 2018. The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was also at the meeting.
Gardaí say Operation Thor, which led to a 30 per cent reduction in burglaries following its introduction in November 2015, is a multi-strand approach to tackling burglaries with an emphasis on preventing the crime from happening in the first instance.
Operation Thor actively targets organised crime gangs and repeat offenders through co-ordinated crime prevention and enforcement activity based on intelligence and the latest burglary trends.