An Garda Síochána

Since Operation Thor was launched on 2nd November 2015 domestic burglaries have fallen nationally by approximately 30%. However as we approach the winter months householders need to be vigilant as traditionally burglaries rise in winter time.

  • In winter, residential burglaries increase by 23%.
  • Over 45% of residential burglaries in winter occur between 5pm and 11pm.
  • In 19% of burglaries, entry is through an unsecured door or window.
  • Jewellery and cash are the most common objects stolen during burglaries.
  • The typical value stolen per incident in the last twelve months is €600.
  • There were over 160 cases where car keys were “fished” through the letterbox in the past year.
  • More incidents reported by an alarm activation were detected than not detected.

Whether you are at home or going out, remember to turn on some lights, use timer switches, lock all doors and windows, use an alarm, store keys away from windows and letter boxes and don’t store large amounts of cash or jewellery in the house.

PRESS RELEASE

“My body was completely broken, but I didn’t realise I would never see him again.” These are the words of Gillian Treacy, mother of four year old Ciarán who was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver in April 2014.

Gillian’s story and that of her husband Ronan, the Emergency Services who attended the collision and the medical team who fought to save Ciarán’s life are featured in the latest ‘Crashed Lives’ ad campaign from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána. The ad was launched today, Thursday 1 December, as part of the RSA and An Garda Síochána Annual Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign.

Ciarán Treacy was just four years old when the car he was travelling in with his mother Gillian and brother Seán was hit by a drunk-driver. Ciarán died as a result of the collision while Gillian was left with devastating injuries. The ad features home videos of Ciarán playing with his brother and sister in the garden and laughing and smiling in the car, a picture of happiness and innocence. We hear the stories of Ciarán’s parents Gillian and Ronan, Sergeant Dave Lynam and Paramedic Christy Kelly who attended the collision, and Nurses Patrice O’Connell and Mary Joyce who fought to save Ciarán’s life.

The message behind the ‘Crashed Lives’ campaign is that drink driving destroys lives, families and communities. As the festive season approaches, the RSA and An Garda Síochána have issued a stark warning to road-users about the consequences of drink-driving. Earlier this year, the RSA’s Pre-Crash Report on Alcohol, which examined Garda forensic investigation files into fatal crashes between 2008 and 2012, showed that alcohol was a factor in 38% of all fatal collisions (driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist and cyclist), claiming the lives of 286 people. 29% of drivers and motorcyclists killed had consumed alcohol.

Speaking before the launch, Gillian Treacy said:

Thursday 17 April 2014 was the day our lives were shattered because of drink-driving. As a mother, your instinct is to protect your children from any harm that might come their way but I wasn’t able to do this for Ciarán. Because someone decided to drink and drive that day, and his actions led to the death of my little boy. Our lives will never be the same again. I beg anyone who would think of drinking and driving to think of my little boy, and to think of the devastated family and community still mourning his loss.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, An Garda Síochána said:

Our message to any driver thinking of drinking and driving is ‘don’t do it’, the consequences are too serious. At best you risk losing your licence – at worst you could have to live with the guilt of being responsible for someone’s death or serious injury. An Garda Síochána will be targeting drink-driving throughout the festive period, and this includes the morning after a night out when drivers can still be over the limit. Please don’t risk it, for your sake and those who share the road with you. Our appeal is to passengers too, don’t take a lift from anyone who has been drinking – you are effectively putting your life in their hands.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD said:

Drink driving kills, maims and shatters lives. While many people have changed their behaviour for the better, there is still a cohort of people who think it is acceptable to drink and drive. It is not. We simply cannot live in a society where we have to fear for our safety on the roads because of the selfish actions of someone else.

We need to take responsibility for our behaviour on the roads so that other families are not left devastated because of bad choices. We must also continue to educate drivers, cyclists and even pedestrians about the very real dangers and consequences of using the road after consuming alcohol.

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald TD who attended the launch said:

We are united here today with our colleagues in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, An Garda Síochána, the RSA, Emergency Services and all others who play a role in keeping our roads safe with one simple message – drink-driving destroys lives. It is a scourge on our roads, a threat to our safety and a selfish act that will not be tolerated. Gillian and Ronan Treacy have shown extraordinary courage and selflessness by sharing their story – it is now up to each of us to honour Ciarán’s memory by never ever drinking and driving.

RSA Chairperson Liz O’Donnell said:

Sometimes we can switch off when we hear about road deaths and injuries because they’re just numbers, we don’t know the people behind the statistics. Today we are putting a human face on these tragedies through the stories of Gillian, Ronan, their family and those who fought to save the life of their child Ciarán. This is what drink-driving does to families and communities. Just one drink impairs your driving – that’s not an opinion, that’s a scientific fact. I am pleading with every road-user to think about this family the next time they consider drinking and driving. And then make the right choice – organise a taxi, get a lift or use public transport.

An Garda Síochána will be increasing the number of Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints around the country over the next six weeks and will be on a 24/7 basis. Remember, Gardaí can breath test any driver that has committed any road traffic offence.

The new 90” ‘Crashed Lives’ TV advert shows exactly how drink driving can smash so many lives to pieces. It focuses on a crash in which four year old Ciarán Treacy was killed and all of the people who were affected as a result of Ciarán’s death. It shows the immediate family, learning to cope with physical and emotional trauma, the emergency service workers, people who arrived at the scene, nurses, the wider family and community. It reminds us that a crash is never just one person – it sends shockwaves throughout lives, families and communities. The message is simple – stop and think of Ciarán the next time you consider drink-driving, find another way home and never ever drink and drive.

The campaign will be supported by a full social and online campaign, cinema and a radio advert. The digital campaign features 13 short ten second vignettes featuring people who were directly affected by the collision. This includes those first to arrive on scene, the paramedics, the ICT nurse, the Fire Brigade and the Treacy family themselves.

These will be shared on our social media sites throughout the campaign to remind everyone the sheer number of people that are affected by a fatal collision – it’s not just the people in the car.

To date this year, 169 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of 27 when compared to the same period last year.

Between January and October 2016 there have been 6,629 arrests for driving under the influence, 406 more (6.5%) than this period last year. There were 665 arrests for driving under the influence during last year’s Christmas Campaign.

Seizure of counterfeit Goods in Mullingar, Westmeath on the 9/12/15

Gardaí have seized a large quantity of counterfeit goods in an operation in Mullingar yesterday 9th December 2015.

In a joint operation involving Gardaí from Mullingar Garda Station, the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigations (NBCI) and Revenues Customs Service, searches were carried out at a number of premises in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

A large quantity of counterfeit goods, such as; Michael KORS handbags, Converse shoes, MAC Makeup, UGG Boots and other goods were seized. The goods seized have a value in excess of €200,000.

Gardaí are liaising with brand protection managers in an effort to identify all of the goods.

The operation is currently ongoing. Gardaí believe the good were destined to be sold in shops, town markets and on internet trading sites.

On Tuesday 8th December, An Garda Síochána held a national action day to share seasonal safety guidance and to provide practical crime prevention advice designed to reduce the fear of crime within Irish communities.

Please Observe The Following 12 Points This Christmas

  • Drink alcohol responsibly. Wherever the celebration – Everyone should promote safe behaviour.
  • Plan your night out, tell someone where you’re going & when you’ll be back.
  • You, your family or friends should never walk home alone, remember safety in numbers. If you have no other option, walk in well lit areas.
  • Take care when carrying your handbag, smart phone or tablet in crowded areas. Keep them in a safe location, within view.
  • Watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas. Keep handbags zipped and don’t put your wallet in your back pocket. In bars and restaurants take care about where you store coats and handbags.
  • At ATM’s, only take out as money much as you need. Cover your pin number and call the Gardaí if you believe the machine has been compromised.
  • Take care of your Christmas shopping and never leave it unattended, especially in your car.
  • Park your car in secure, well lit areas and make sure to lock it.
  • Avoid burglaries at ChristmasSecure all doors and windows and use your alarm.
  • Don’t leave Christmas presents in view from the outside of your home.
  • If you’re expecting deliveries, always make sure someone is there to collect it or arrange for a trusted neighbour to take it in.
  • If you’re going away for Christmas, make your home look occupied, leave a light on and get a trusted neighbour to check on your property.
Sergeant Kelvin Courtney
National Crime Prevention Unit

For most people the Christmas period is an enjoyable and festive season. Unfortunately for some, the month of December sees assaults rise by almost a third more than in January or February.

The peak time for assaults are weekend nights and research shows you are more likely to be assaulted if you have consumed alcohol. There is a clear correlation between assaults and incidents of drunkenness.

I would encourage people to plan their nights out in advance, drink responsibly and avoid confrontation.

In December most thefts occur between 2pm and 9pm, when most of us do our Christmas shopping. Thieves take advantage of us at this time of year as they know we may be distracted, so avoid leaving Christmas shopping unattended in the car for long periods and take care of your handbags, wallets and mobile phones.

Further Reading

The Road Safety Authority in partnership with An Garda Síochána have produced this video to demonstrate what a driver can expect if caught drink driving. It is estimated that 150 people are arrested in Ireland each week for drink driving offences.

Following the success of the campaign in previous years, Gardai in Galway have today relaunched Operation Solas – a campaign designed to educate road users on the importance of lighting up during shorter days. While this is a region specific campaign, the messages should be heeded by all – regardless of location.

Whether in a car, on a bike or just out walking, it is vital that you are visible to other road users!

National Road Safety Authority (RSA) figures show that 550,000 (20% of all cars on Irish roads) have failed their NCT because of defective lighting. In addition, many cyclists fail to ensure that they are properly lit up when riding in darker conditions.

So if you’re driving – check your lights. If you’re cycling – make sure you have a working light on your bike. If you’re going for an evening stroll – put on your hi-vis.

Garda StatsEarlier this week, An Garda Síochána launched “Operation Thor” – a nationwide project set-up to target organised crime gangs and repeat offenders. The following statistics were shared during the launch.

  1. Residential burglaries increase between the hours of 5pm and 10pm during winter
  2. On average 1 in 5 intruders enter through an unsecured door or window
  3. Homes that look unoccupied are more vulnerable to burglary
  4. 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%
  5. Burglars tend to target cash and jewellery when breaking into homes

Familiarise yourself with these key points, review the tips for improving your own security and avoid becoming another statistic.

Further Reading

Launch of Operation ThorAn Garda Síochána has today launched a multi-strand national anti-crime strategy – Operation Thor. The Operation will actively target organised crime gangs and repeat offenders through coordinated crime prevention and enforcement activity based on intelligence and the latest crime trends and patterns to protect communities.

Operation Thor has been in the planning for several months and was finalised on confirmation of additional funding in areas such as recruitment, fleet, operational expenditure, and public awareness. It is being launched today to coincide with the advent of longer winter nights, 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.

Building on the success of Operation Fiacla, which has seen over 8,000 people charged for burglary and related crimes and offences, Operation Thor will focus on five main areas to reduce burglary incidents and protect communities. These are:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Working in partnership: For Operation Thor, we have worked with the Department of Justice and Equality on the required measures to support this Operation. We are working with the Courts Service and Probation Service on programmes to reduce re-offending by prolific criminals. We will continue to work with community-based organisation such as the IFA, Neighbourhood Watch, Munitir na Tire and Crimestoppers to prevent crime. Our most important partnership is with the community and working with them through schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch, TextAlert and Community Alert Schemes.

This multi-strand approach will now be used by An Garda Síochána in all future anti-crime strategies.

Launching Operation Thor today, Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said:

We have identified the anti-crime initiatives required and have listened to the concerns of communities – both urban and rural. As we enter the winter burglaries increase. Our focus is on tackling and apprehending the crime gangs and prolific offenders who seek to harm our communities.

Operation Thor will see a wide-range of measures used to proactively target high impact offenders and suspects, as well as initiatives where we will work with community and community-based groups to prevent burglaries and reduce the opportunities for crime. We are going to have a relentless focus on identifying, targeting, and disrupting criminals and bringing them to justice. We not only target offenders, but also their assets.

Operation Thor will be intelligence-led. In developing the Operation we have used analysis of the latest crime patterns and burglary trends, research of effective burglary reduction practices, and data on criminal activity.
“A key strand will be working in partnership with communities to keep them safe. Great examples of this are the highly successful Text Alert, Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert schemes.

We are seeking the support of the community to assist us. Working together, we can reduce the opportunities for criminals.We would also urge people to have an alarm, light up their home this winter, lock their doors and windows and sheds, and join or set-up a local crime prevention scheme.

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. Operation Thor will be coordinated at national level. All national and local units will be involved in implementing Operational Thor including Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Criminal Assets Bureau, Garda Analysis Service, National Forensics Co-ordination Centre, armed Regional Support Units, and Regional Detective Superintendents. Each of the Garda Regional Assistant Commissioners will also introduce measures tailored to reduce crime in their area.

Winter Burglary Prevention

Facts

  1. In winter, burglaries increase by 25%
  2. Over 40% of burglaries in winter occur between 5pm and 11pm
  3. In 20% of burglaries, entry is through an unsecured door or window
  4. Jewellery and cash are the most common articles stolen during burglaries
  5. There were over 200 cases where car keys where “fished” through the letterbox in the past year

Top 5 Tips

  1. Secure all Doors and Windows
  2. Light up your Home, use timer switches when out
  3. Store Keys safely and away from windows & letterboxes
  4. Record details of Valuables and don’t keep large Cash amounts at home
  5. Use your Alarm, even when at home