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Over one million texts about local crime sent under Garda text alert system

The text alert system was launched by the gardaí in September 2013

Image: Shutterstock/Photographee.eu

OVER ONE MILLION text messages have been sent out to communities alerting people to potential criminal activity in their local area under the gardaí’s text alert system.

Figures released by the gardaí today, shows that there are more than 100,000 people signed up to the scheme from 550 groups in towns and villages across the country.

The text alert system, which was launched in September 2013, enables communities to set up a group to receive alerts advising them of suspicious or criminal activity in their area.

Local crime 

As well as ensuring awareness among users of the service, the gardaí said it can also lead to them reporting suspicious activity to police.

The gardaí said that it very useful as it means that information can be disseminated rapidly to a large amount of people in a cost-effective way. It works by a text being sent to an approved “community contact” in the area advising them of possible criminal activity in the area, as well as asking the public to watch out and report any developments.

Gardaí gave an example of a recent text alert sent out in the Midlands in relation to a recent theft.

Car theft 

A male reported the theft of his vehicle to Gardaí and identified a suspect vehicle involved in this theft. It was also believed that this suspect vehicle had been involved in the theft of another vehicle the day before. A text alert was sent out to targeted areas regarding the suspicious vehicle.

Acting on information received back, Gardaí were able to intercept the vehicle. As a result, four males were arrested for theft of items, and a file is being prepared for the DPP in relation to the taking of the vehicles.

“We have found that as an immediate, cost effective method of engagement with the communities we serve, text alert is invaluable. It would appear from these levels of usage the public also feel it is a valuable way to help prevent and tackle crime,” said Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan.

Patrick Walsh from Neighbourhood Watch said communities have experienced a reduction in burglaries since it engaged with the text alert system, adding that the scheme helps sustain the continued effort by both the gardaí and Neighbourhood Watch members.

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