This evening a group from the Neighbourhood Watch attended the Garda Crime Prevention meeting in Castleknock Community College. It was hosted by Sergeant Rory Carey who heads the Community Policing team and was addressed by Superintendent Liam Carolan who is responsible for the Gardaí in K District – Blanchardstown, Cabra and Finglas and Sergeant Vincent Connolly who is the Crime Prevention Officer for the district.
Update on Crime Statistics:
- Acknowledged that there was a spike in burglaries in Castleknock in December with 19 burglaries recorded in Castleknock and 4 in the Carpenterstown area from 1st December to 12th January. Included 4 in one evening in College Wood. One aggrevated burglary in that period of time.
- Significant increase in Garda resources dedicated to burglary patrols in Castleknock since start of Jan. Covered by overtime and not sustainable in long term but seen as necessary to address the current issues. 48 checkpoints and 164 proactive patrols since Jan 1st.
- Levels of burglary reported in media and social media is exagerated – not withstanding the fact that there has been a spike.
- No burglary in the area since Jan 12th and previous to that was one on the 8th Jan. Not declaring victory yet but progress is being made and Gardai continuing to patrol the area.
- Several detections and people charged in Castleknock Manor, Park View, Castleknock road.
- Disrupted others with past records and moved them on from the area.
Cooperation from the public and neighbourhood watch groups is very welcome but need to be careful with the information shared on social media.
- Not all of it is accurate
- Do not share photos of people or full reg plates – may be innocent and could jeopardise court case. Also one case in South East where it triggered a lawsuit for defamation.
- Sometimes can spread fear rather than improve security
- Call the Gardai – 999 – if you see something unusual
Blanchardstown is the busiest Garda station in the country and the K District serves 175,000 people. They have 365 Gardaí based in the station across multiple units – approx 15 in the community policing unit plus another 20 in a community action team (K-CATs) that can be deployed in high priority areas.
Could certainly use additional resources and would like to provide additional support to community policing if the resources allowed. Careful not to get into a political discussion during the meeting but additional resourcing would allow a higher level of community policing support on an ongoing basis.
Good presentation from Sgt Connolly of the crime prevention group. We have covered many of these points before but it was good to get the reminder.
- Primary access points – Front door, Back door, open windows
- Most likely between 5pm and 10pm
- Opportunistic burglars are most common – looking for Jewelery and Cash and want to be in and out within 3 minutes
- Best exercise – go outside your home and pretend that you are locked out. See all the potential entry areas to your home.
- Consider high quality locks on doors and windows. Use locksmiths that are PSA registered. If you have an alarm – use it. Keep perimiter alarm on at night.
- Avoid leaving climing aids – bins etc next to windows. Lock your shed – access to tools. Side gate – best if flush ith the front of the house – curved top.
- Light up – particularly on Winter evenings
- CCTV – useful if there is good quality and many options now available but very often you will only get a silouette. Smart switches other products that can remotely control lights.
- Cut back trees and shrubs to remove cover for would-be burglars.
- Do not engage with strangers – selling goods and services, collecting
- If you do hear an intruder – stay safe – call 999 – do not engage
- Property marking – photo, register and mark goods – including jewellery.
The Q&A was broadly supportive of the Gardai. Recognised that the current resource level is unsustainable in the longer term but hope that the peak of activity will pass. Given the timing we had many of our local representatives at the meeting. No harm in reminding them that more resources for the Gardai are needed to increase the level of resources into the future.
I would like to thank the Gardai for this open and informative event. It was good to have the facts delivered in a non political manner and context. We have a positive relationship with the community policing team through Garda Alex McDermott and Sgt Rory Carey, and we can build on that for the future.
If you do see something unusual the first point of contact should be the Gardaí on 999.
If others have additional observations from the meeting, let me know and we will share them.