40% drop in reported burglaries as Thor hammers winter crime

Garda figures show there was a 40% fall in reported burglaries between October and March, which Garda chiefs attribute to a policing initiative.

Garda HQ set up a winter phase of Operation Thor, as a result of an increase in home break-ins in September and October, 2017.

A focus was to target travelling criminal gangs that specialise in burglaries, and which use high-powered vehicles as getaways.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána said provisional figures showed there were 43% fewer reported burglaries of homes in March 2018, compared to October 2017, following the implementation of the winter phase of Operation Thor.

It said the initiative was set up after a “spike” in residential burglaries in September and October.

The statement said the winter phase involved the “undertaking of targeted enforcement and preventative activity, designed to prevent potential burglars from exploiting the reduced hours of daylight”.

The provisional figures show burglaries dropped from 1,427 nationally, last October, to 806 in March.

When compared year on year, the first quarter of 2018 (January to March) recorded 25% fewer residential burglaries, compared to the first quarter of 2017.

The statement said that burglaries are about 20% more likely to occur in the winter. It said a key aspect of the winter phase was to target organised crime gangs involved in burglaries:

“Operation Thor activities have led to numerous arrests of inter-regional, travelling criminals, where high-powered ‘getaway’ vehicles were identified and intercepted.”

It said that Garda case managers examined repeat offenders, resulting in the “effective use of bail legislation”.

Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations, John O’Driscoll, said: “We are particularly aware of the vulnerability of older people, for whom a burglary can be a very traumatic experience, and we are determined to identify and apprehend those who exploit their vulnerability .”

He said he met senior detectives in each garda region and the Garda Analysis Service to review the winter phase and plan the next part. He said both the Criminal Assets Bureau and Forensic Science Ireland attended those meetings.

Garda HQ said the figures were provisional and that official crime data is published by the CSO.

The CSO resumed publishing qualified garda statistics last March, after a nine-month gap.

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