Gardaí say dramatic fall in burglaries due to Operation Thor

Gardaí say dramatic fall in burglaries due to Operation Thor
Gardaí say dramatic fall in burglaries due to Operation Thor

Official figures show that domestic burglaries have been cut in half over the last four years – a trend gardaí are attributing to a dedicated policing operation.

The dramatic fall in reported break-ins continued over the last year, with a 10% reduction.

Garda HQ released details today on the Winter Phase of Operation Thor, which targets travelling criminal gangs specialising in burglaries, often using high-powered vehicles.

Residential burglaries fell from 12,057 in the winter of 2014/2015 to 5,997 during the winter of 2018/2019.

The winter period for the purpose of the operation runs from October to March in the given year.

The figures saw a 10% fall within the last 12 months, from 6,613 during the winter of 2017/18.

Gardaí say that international evidence showed that there was a “surge” in burglaries of around 20% during winter months.

Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations, John O’Driscoll said the success of Operation Thor highlights the benefits of a coordinated approach as opposed to separate initiatives taken locally.

I have meetings and lead-out Operation Thor as Assistant Commissioner for Special Crime Operations and at those meetings we have detective superintendents for the regions, the regional traffic superintendent and national units, such as the Criminal Assets Bureau, Forensic Science Ireland and the Technical Bureau and we share intelligence.

He said in one operation last month they tracked and intercepted a high powered vehicle believed to be involved in a “cross border burglary spree” and took it out of circulation.

He said that where a burglary is in the process of taking place or has just been carried out, and they have intelligence as to “who is involved or where they are travelling” to, that they send a unit to intercept, often on the outskirts of Dublin.

“This is often done at the risk of personal injury to members,” AC O’Driscoll said.

He said that last month, CAB led an operation in Cork targeting a major gang involved in a range of serious criminality, including burglary.

A total of 10 high-end vehicles were seized, including a 181 Toyota Hi Lus and a 191 Toyota Landcruiser, as well as more than €30,000 in cash and four Rolex watches.

He said Operation Thor is active in targeting cross-border gangs. Asked if he thinks there has been an increase in cross-border burglaries he said it has been a “constant feature” over the lifetime of Operation Thor.

He said he was in command of the Northern Region some three years ago and doesn’t believe there is a huge difference between now and then in terms of the scale of cross-border burglaries.

AC O’Driscoll said the Joint Agency Task Force targetted cross-border crime across six categories, one of them being rural crime.

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