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Gardaí launch 'text alert' service to tackle rural crime

The initiative will allow people to send alerts of suspicious incidents to the rest of the community through gardaí.

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A NATIONAL COMMUNITY text alert service has been launched today to help prevent rural crime and offer support to communities.

The service was launched by An Garda Síochana, Muintir na Tíre and Neighborhood Watch. It allows local residents to report suspicious behaviour in their area and, through gardaí, this is passed on to the rest of the community through text messages.

Flyers around communities alerting people to the service will provide the phone number of the local garda station, which they can call, and if the incident is deemed worthy, gardaí will pass the information to the service provider Pin Point Alerts. This company has already done similar work with councils, sending alerts like severe weather warnings and road closures.

Managing Director of the company Brendan Cunnigham told TheJournal.ie that this tool will be particularly useful for older people living in rural areas who may be isolated.

“If someone sees people selling things door-to-door and they’re suspicious they can get an alert out telling people to be aware of someone claiming to be a salesman,” he explained. “It can also be used for telling people about individuals entering areas they they shouldn’t.”

Cunningham said that an automated calling service will also be set up as part of the system for people who would prefer to get alerts on their landline phone.

“I think is timely because there are a lot of disgruntled people out there, with the closure of garda stations so this is all about offering support to the community,” he added.

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(Image: An Garda Síochána/Facebook)

Speaking at the Ploughing Championships today, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the emphasis of the initiative is on “preventing crime through active partnerships with communities”.

Active community alert groups looking to join the initiative can contact Pin Point Alerts.

Related: Councils use new service MapAlerter to spread information to public>

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