Despite perceptions to the contrary, the number of burglaries being committed here has been almost halved over the past four years.
That's according to figures produced by Gardai at the recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee. In a presentation given to the JPC members, Detective Inspector Derek Hughes outlined the Gardai's approach to tackling crime, saying there was a combination of reasons for the downward trend.
In 2013, there were 1,050 burglaries recorded. In 2014, that was down to 905, and last year it was as low as 696.
“Chief Superintendent Hayes wants it below 500 this year,” said Det Insp Hughes.
“Now, a lot of the low-hanging fruit has been picked, but we are still on target to have it halved on [the figures for] 2013.”
For example, in the period of January to June last year there were 15 burglaries in Castlecomer. The same period this year has seen just three.
Det Insp Hughes said that Operations Storm and Affinity had played a part in this, as well as public support, increased resources, and the flexibility of personnel.
“People are coming in to do a job that needs doing at the drop of a hat,” he said.
He said that one very serious crime was helped to be solved by a member of the public who was stopped at a checkpoint, who later provided useful information as a result of the positive engagement with Gardai.
Det Insp Hughes told the meeting that anti-crime activity was based on five pillars: reducing burglaries, reducing fear of crime, making the road network difficult for criminals to use, 'opportunity-led' policing, and drugs enforcement.
Det Insp Hughes also spoke about the Gardai's prolific offender management programme.
He said a very small number of people commit almost all of the crime.
“So, we target them relentlessly,” he said.
JPC chairman Patrick McKee thanked Det Insp Hughes for his comprehensive report.
“You have debunked a number of myths,” he said.
“I know the perception of crime on the rise exists and some people are in fear, but your approach is yielding results.
“It is incumbent on us to look at the facts and figures. I congratulate you and your colleagues on the work you are doing.”