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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019
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Neighbourhood Watch sees town reduce burglaries by 68 per cent

Led by a 25-year-old local, the Sallynoggin Neighbourhood Watch group has seen a huge reduction in burglaries in the past three years.

Image: Nesster via Flickr

A NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH group set up three years ago has seen one South County Dublin area experience a huge drop in burglaries in that time.

Sallynoggin Neighbourhood Watch has confirmed a drop in burglaries for the third consecutive year since its establishment in 2008. SNW said at its meeting last night that burglaries dropped by 18 per cent for the Sallynoggin area in 2011.

This brings the total drop over a three year period to a 68 per cent within the community from 59 burglaries in 2008 to 19 for the year 2011.

James McCann (25), is chairperson of the SNW, and set it up at the age of 22 after spending time in the army. He told TheJournal.ie that he wanted to do something within his community, and after a spate of burglaries felt a Neighbourhood Watch group was needed.

McCann described Neighbourhood Watch as “decent people trying to do decent things for people in the community”. There are six people on the committee and they meet regularly.

When we first set up the Neighbourhood Watch, my own house was burgled. It wasn’t a bad burglary but there were many that were had their homes wrecked and jewellery and posessions taken. Sallynoggin is only a community of 1400 homes so it sent shockwaves through the town.

The group sends out a quarterly newsletter which gives updates and also basic advice for keeping homes safe. They also hold regular information meetings and work with the community gardaí, who talk to people about practical things you can do to safeguard your home.

It has secured €30,000 in funding for security features for 79 older residents  which McCann claims “has greatly enhanced their peace of mind”.

“The support of the gardai has been fantastic,” said McCann. “We can get in contact with them at any time to discuss issues. They are a real asset in making the whole thing work because without them we wouldn’t have access to the info or resources.”

Working closely with the community gardaí has led McCann to fear that cuts within the garda síochána could lead to community gardaí being taken away from regular duties.

Community gardaí have become the most important asset in policing in my view, their presence and the connections they make within a community are absolutely vital in tackling crime but most importantly  preventing it too. The impact of the cuts in policing is pulling community gardaí out of their intended roles to close operational gaps and with the new shift rotas that have come into place it will be more difficult now for community gardaí to play their much needed roles within communities.

McCann explained that Neighbourhood Watch can help reduce crime in areas by encouraging people to do simple things like double locking doors.

It can also be used to protect the most vulnerable within communities and even help tackle anti-social behaviour, graffiti or littering. There are many challenges facing An Garda Síochána in the future and active NWs can help make meeting those challenges that little bit easier so I would call on Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to ensure the retention of community gardaí as a priority so that the support they provide to groups like us can continue.

Yesterday, the Garda Síochána confirmed it had created Operation Fiacla, a nationwide initiative that targets travelling criminals and their activities.

Read: Shatter: Garda fears over station closures are “alarmist and irresponsible”>

Read: Gardaí say plan to close stations will hit crime-fighting>

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