200 Burglars Targeted By Gardaí In New Crackdown
Gardaí have launched a nationwide crackdown on the most prolific burglars in the state. This new initiative will see substantial additional resources allocated to the Garda unit responsible for tracking down some of the country’s worst criminals, particularly burglars. Gardaí will be targeting six criminal gangs and more than 200 habitual burglars that have already been identified.
The plan was launched by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald alongside Garda Commissioiner Noirín O’Sullivan. The aim of the anti-crime initiative is to build on the successes of operations Acer and Fiacla, which resulted in more than 4,000 arrests made and over 3,000 prosecutions.
The main target of the plan are the highly prolific mobile gangs that travel from urban areas to target isolated houses in the countryside. These gangs use high-powered cars and utilize the motorways to commit robberies in multiple counties in a single night. They are primarily based in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Sligo.
The operation will be a national co-ordination so that the information flow is not impeded. When a crime is reported in a rural area it will be passed on immediately to officers in urban centres so that they can intercept the traveling gangs on their return journey.
The Garda unit will receive an upgraded fleet and specialised equipment to tackle the mobile gangs. The operation will also consist of surveillance and high-visibility patrols to act as a deterrent and to reassure communities. Case management officers will be assigned to priority targets, and will be responsible for building prosecution files against them.
According to a senior Garda officer, “Unlike the local robbers, these gangs will carry out six to 10 crimes during a single night, concentrating specifically on items such as cash and jewellery and then head for home along the motorways. They set out in the late afternoon and travel back to their base in the early morning. With more co-ordinated planning and information, we intend to be ready for them as they return and catch them with the loot.”
The announcement of the crackdown follows the recent jailing of seven men in relation to the horrific raid carried out on the Corcoran family in Co. Tipperary. The men were a mix of individuals from Traveller and settled communities in Coolock, North Dublin. They were described by Gardaí as extremely volatile and dangerous. However, they were just the tip of the iceberg, as at least six more gangs are suspected of being in continuous operation.
Intelligence sources believe that there are two extended families responsible for a high proportion of the burglaries and robberies committed throughout the country. They are said to be based in Tallaght and Co Kildare, and have a history of crime that spans generations.
Up until now, such gangs have acted with impunity. Their highpowered vehicles have escaped Garda pursuit on a number of occasions. They have even been said to openly challenge Gardaí once the officers arrive on the scene.
One source said: “Unlike the local robbers, these gangs will carry out six to 10 crimes during a single night, concentrating specifically on items such as cash and jewellery and then head for home along the motorways.” The new initiative will greatly improve Garda efforts to combat such crimes. “We plan to take back the perceived control of the motorways from the travelling gangs by erecting a series of checkpoints regularly on their favoured routes and access and exit roads, as well as stepping up patrols in identified crime blackspots.