Granard burglary levels continue to slide

Burglary rates across the Granard region continue to fall with latest figures showing break-ins declining by over a third last year.

Burglary rates across the Granard region continue to fall with latest figures showing break-ins declining by over a third last year.

Much of that success, according to those leading the fight against crime, has not for the first time been levelled at the district’s hugely successful text alert scheme.

Superintendent Ian Lackey said its all-round immediacy and relatively low-cost nature has seen numerous other policing divisions replicate the Granard model.

“Burglary rates are down 35 per cent and that really has been our big success story of 2012,” he told elected members at last week’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting.

“They (break-ins) are up in most other districts in the country and a lot of that has been down to the success of the text alert and because local people bought into it.”

First introduced in the summer of 2011 as part of a three pronged anti-crime strategy devised by local Sgt Lionel Mullally, a series of planned Garda patrols were also set up, directly targeting those believed to be involved in organised crime.

A second element of that approach involved establishing closer links with local communities, the result of which has seen a near 50 per cent drop on burglary statistics since 2010.

Although most areas encountered a 30-35 per cent fall off in household related crime last year, the north Longford village of Smear encountered the biggest decline as crime levels fell 90 per cent.

At present, 11 schemes throughout the Granard region involving around 4,500 homes are signed up to the initiative, something which the Granard Garda chief hopes to strengthen further in 2013.

He also said representative bodies such as the IFA, had even started to press government leaders to ensure the scheme’s long term survival.

That said, Supt Lackey threw caution on just how well the scheme might work in more densely populated areas.

“I believe it (text alert) will only work in more rural areas as people are naturally more curious about their neighbours. That’s why it has succeeded so much in this district,” he said.