'Families too terrified to report crime after threats from thugs'
Many Northside Dublin residents are too intimidated and afraid to report crime because they fear being targeted again.
A local policing forum meeting was told that there had been five cases of serious assault in the Belcamp and Darndale areas but only one reported to gardai. One alleged victim was a young mother.
Unreported crime was described as "a relevant and recurring concern" in a report drawn up for the meeting.
Local councillor Larry O'Toole said that residents of the city's North Central Area have been intimidated with threats of assault at their doorsteps. "People come to the door and say, 'Your son owes us money or else'," he told the Herald. "They are some of the most frightening scenarios.
"Families are all over the place. There is no control on it whatsoever, people can demand what they like from them, they can say whatever they like.
"I can understand their reluctance to go to the gardai, that is obviously part of the intimidation.
"It's a city-wide problem, it's not unique to this area. I would still advise people to come in confidence to the gardai or come to the council about it.
"It's shocking though and there is more going on than we know. The gardai have a big role to play but it's not easy," the Sinn Fein representative said.
Jim Kelly, Dublin City Council assistant area manager in the North Central Area, who compiled the report, said it is a serious matter.
"If you experience it, it's awful," he said. "We have positivity in the community too but it massively sets back some communities and can take decades to get over. The best example I could give would be Limerick.
"We believe there is a legislative remedy, where people would not have to appear in court."
The issue was referred to the City-wide Joint Policing Committee (JPC) which advised it be discussed at local level. The Department of Justice also advised on the merits of its consideration further at JPC level.
"An Garda Siochana would encourage all members of the public who believe that a crime/offence is being or has been committed to report such incidents at their local or any garda station," a garda spokesman said.
"Any person with information regarding crime or criminal activity should also contact any garda station. They may also contact the Garda Confidential Line, 1800 66610."