Burglary gangs to be hit hard as gardai launch Operation Thor

Burglary gangs to be hit hard as gardai launch Operation Thor

Rapid armed response teams, checkpoints and gardai patrols to increase as millions invested in new gardai operation.

Operation Thor, a multi-strand national anti-crime strategy which will actively target organised crime gangs and repeat offenders was launch today

It is being launched to coincide with longer winter night, which is when burglaries traditionally increase.

Operation Thor will see:

-    Increased visibility in local communities to prevent burglaries and related crimes

-    More high visibility checkpoints

-    Increased patrolling on the motorway network denying criminals use of the roads

-    Enhanced use of intelligence, technology and data to target prolific offenders and organised crime gangs.

-    A strong focus on working with communities to reduce opportunities for burglaries to take place

-    A national awareness campaign to inform people on how to enhance the security of homes

To support Operation Thor, the government has provided approximately €5m in additional funding.

This will be used to provide additional patrols, checkpoints, and rapid armed response where necessary, as well as national and local awareness campaigns.

It is estimated that the funding will provide over 100,000 additional patrolling hours by Gardaí in communities.

Operation Thor will focus on five main areas to reduce burglary incidents and protect communities.

-    Crime investigations and operations: This will see a range of activities including the targeting at national, regional and divisional level of organised crime gangs and prolific offenders; the use of high powered vehicles by the armed Regional Response Units; enhanced covert surveillance; disrupting the stolen goods market; high visibility checkpoints and roads policing supported by ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology to limit the use of the road network by offenders.

-   Crime prevention: Crime trend analysis will be used to identify burglary hot-spots and extra high-visibility patrols will then be put into those areas, targeted crime prevention advice will be given to local communities, bail conditions of prolific offenders will be closely monitored, and programmes will be put in place to help reduce re-offending by prolific offenders. Data from the Garda Analysis Service shows that 75% of burglaries are carried out by 25% of offenders.

  Victims Support: Victims will be provided with support and advice, and will be kept updated as their case progresses through the justice system. Burglary victims will be provided with crime prevention advice to reduce the risk of re-victimisation.

-    Education and awareness: A national advertising campaign will be run during the week of November 16th to inform people on how they can enhance the security of their homes and property. The theme of the campaign will be: Lock Up. Light Up.  This will be supported by local awareness activity.

Enforcement and preventive activities under Operation Thor will be based on regular analysis of the latest crime patterns and burglary trends, and will be kept under constant assessment.

Analysis from the Garda Analysis Services shows that:

-    Residential burglaries increase between the hours of 5pm and 10pm during winter

-    On average 1 in 5 intruders enter through an unsecured door or window

-    Homes that look unoccupied are more vulnerable to burglary

-    The most likely entry point for a burglar is a door – 27% of burglaries take place through the front door and 25% through a rear door. Access through a rear window accounts for 28%.

-    Burglars tend to target cash and jewellery when breaking into homes 

The Text Alert Scheme was set-up by An Garda Síochána, the IFA, Neighbourhood Watch, and Munitir na Tire.

It has been running for two years now and there are over 700 Text Alert Groups up and down the country with over 125,000 members.

More than one million texts have been sent under the system to advise local communities of suspicious or criminal activity in their local area.