Area Meeting with Gardaí

Opening
The quarterly meeting of the Gardai and Castleknock/Carpenterstown Neighbourhood Watch Groups was held at 8pm on Thursday 23 April 2015 in Blanchardstown Garda blanchardstown-garda-stationStation.
Present

  • Inspector Anthony Twomey, Sergeant Nicola Brady, Community Garda Mickey McCoy and Garda Ollie O’Reilly.
  • Representatives from Pines and Hadleigh, Laurel Lodge, Luttrellstown, Mulberry, Park Avenue, Riverwood and The Beeches.

Issues Discussed
Inspector Twomey opened the meeting by providing some insight into levels of crime in the area since the last meeting which had taken place in early February.    As the figures discussed were unofficial we are not in a position to publish them here but some of the highlights were as follows:

Overall the levels of crime in the Castleknock / Carpenterstown area are relatively low compared to the overall Blanchardstown Garda district.    This is particularly the case in relation to crimes involving the use or threatened use of violence, criminal damage, public order offences and drugs.

The key focus for ourselves need to be in the area of burglary and within that statistic the theft of motor vehicles.   This is the one area where Castleknock / Carpenterstown has what seems like a greater share of the activity.
Home Security
Many of the robberies are targeting vehicles, so it is important not to leave keys on view or anywhere that they are accessible from the hall door mailbox. Fishing rods with strong industrial magnets are being used to fish keys from hall tables and even coat pockets. There are devices which can be bought to prevent letterboxes from being opened sufficiently to allow fishing rods to be used, but they still allow post to drop through.

Other crime tends to be opportunist, so it is important to remember:

  • The importance of locking all windows and doors, including car doors
  • To turn on alarms even when in the house. Also to get alarms serviced, as sensors and other parts of the alarm can cease to work over time.
  • In late winter, most crimes occur in the evening, but this moves to the night or early morning during spring/summer.

Garda Resources
Inspector Twomey confirmed that they are expecting five new recruits from Templemore in the next fortnight.

Anti-social Behaviour
Many of the watch groups reported incidents of anti social behavior including, but not limited to loitering, gathering on greenbelts and in tennis courts, playing loud music and public drinking.
The Gardai advised that it cannot be assumed that these individuals are engaging in unlawful behaviour. If they are, this will be dealt with in the first instance under civil law, by issuing an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) to the child and its parent, or if over 18, to the person only.
Where two or more ASBOs are issued without success, the individuals can be prosecuted under criminal law.
The guards advised residents to report these issues, but cautioned against getting involved directly or recording the incidents.
During the summer months where Gardaí will target hotspots, including, parks and green areas, using bikes and cars.
Underage Drinking and Drugs
Regular surveillance of off licences is undertaken, including blind purchase tests to establish whether off licences are breaching the regulations.

Although the crime statistics do not highlight significant volumes of Drug offences in our area, Inspector Twomey said that in better off areas these crimes can be under-reported.

CCTV

There was a brief discussion around installing CCTV.   There is a need to post a sign where CCTV is installed.   CCTV should not cover areas outside of your property for privacy reasons.

General view that is cost prohibitive and there are legislative and maintenance issues arising.   Also, quality must be excellent for it to be beneficial in securing a conviction, which it is generally not.

Text Alert

Some of the groups have adopted text alert.  The Park Avenue representative explained that they get an average of one to two texts a week and they find it very beneficial.  It increases awareness of the importance of security and encourages people to remain vigilant.

Impression from Inspector Twomey that the Gardaí saw it as a very useful communication tool.

Detection

It was acknowledged that detection rates are disappointing.   To secure a conviction Gardaí often need to catch people in the act as fingerprints are rarely left at the scene.

Bogus tradesmen

General advice is  not to engage with unknown tradesmen who call to the door to clean gutters or clear trees etc.    There are a number of instances where they have used this to gain entry into a house or examine it for future purposes.  There are other instances where these tradesmen start a job and then look for large amounts of money to fix ‘problems’ that they find.

Garda Ollie O’Reilly noted that Age Action have published a leaflet advising those over 65 that there are professionals which have been garda vetted, available to undertake small jobs in the home.  See https://www.ageaction.ie/care-and-repair/about-care-and-repair for more details.

Agenda for Next Meeting
The next meeting will be scheduled for June, ahead of the holiday period.

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