Residents of these districts will be asked to participate in a local text alert scheme aimed at tracking the movements of suspicious individuals and vehicles.
The initiative has already been tried and tested in the Granard area of Co. Longford, where it is credited with halving the rate of burglaries in contrast to other regions where such crime has increased.
Brief details of the garda plan to roll out the text alert system to communities in the Tourmakeady and Partry areas were outlined by Superintendent J.J. Keane at a meeting of the Castlebar Joint Policing Committee (JPC) last Thursday night.
The new Crime Prevention Mobile Text Alert Service system was ‘simple but effective’, Supt. Keane said.
Via the text system on their mobile phones, residents of two north Longford parishes recently played a central role in a huge garda operation, which resulted in the arrest of a three-man crime gang.
Local residents acted as extra ‘eyes’ for the gardaí in ensuring every movement of the gang was tracked until they were finally cornered.
The Superintendent remarks about setting up a local text alert system followed comments by JPC member Councillor Michael Kilcoyne that the Castlebar garda district must be difficult to police because it covers such a large area. “It stretches south to Tourmakeady and Finney and east to Balla and Brize”, Councillor Kilcoyne commented. “One would need a small army to cover it.”
Supt. Keane said garda numbers in the district are reduced at the moment due to the new force roster.
In Castlebar Garda Station, they would need at least five to six personnel working at any one time ‘to cover the bare essentials’.
The Supt. added, however, he was ‘hopeful’ of getting extra manpower in the future.
The rate of burglaries in the district was up on last year, he continued, but the rate was still low compared to other areas.