2015 set to be record year for burglaries in Dublin region
With more than 6,000 break-ins during the first half of the year, Dublin is in the grip of a burglary epidemic with the crime spree by ruthless gangs set to equal or surpass last year's grim record.
Overall, there were 6,172 burglaries in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in the six months to the end of June.
That means the number of burglaries is on course to equal or surpass the shocking 12,197 incidents in Dublin last year, which itself was a 12-year high.
While one opposition TD blamed the spiralling burglary rate on what he claimed was a lack of garda resources, the government has pinned its hopes on Operation Thor to tackle the scourge and said have they are recruiting more gardai.
The burglary rate in the first half of 2015 was highest in the south city area covered by Pearse Street Garda Station, with 730 per 100,000 people, according to figures compiled by the garda and released by the Central Statistics Office.
Clondalkin saw a burglary rate of 519, while in the leafy suburbs of Donnybrook and Dundrum it was 390 and 354 per 100,000 respectively.
The worrying statistics come after 2014's dreadful figures, where the number of burglaries in Dublin rose 17pc from the 10,420 burglaries in 2013.
The 12,197 burglaries in 2014 was the highest recorded number since 2003.
The high burglary rate was described as "extremely disappointing by Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins.
"What we're seeing in these figures is the result of four years of undermining of garda resources and community policing by this government.
"Fine Gael and Labour have closed almost 140 garda stations to save a mere €500,000 but are leaving communities more ... vulnerable to criminals," Mr Collins said.
"A 17pc increase in the number of burglaries in Dublin from 2013 to 2014 is extremely disappointing but unfortunately it's not surprising.
"I hope we're going to see the gardai yield real results with Operation Thor [the nationwide crackdown on burglaries] - I know it won't be for the lack of effort on their part," he added.
He claimed that the burglary epidemic is a problem that the Government has "consistently ignored but is now finally deciding to address".
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald recently outlined extra resources targeting burglary gangs, and plans to provide gardai with high-powered vehicles so they can pursue the criminals.
A Justice Department spokesman said Ms Fitzgerald has "prioritised" the provision of additional resources for the Garda.
"The resumption of garda recruitment and the very significant investments in garda vehicles and technology, which the Minister has recently announced, will support a range of policing measures.
"Operation Thor is a new multi-strand national operation which entails a broad range of activities to tackle burglars, organised crime gangs and prolific offenders as well as working with communities to prevent crime," the spokesman said.