Fear of spike in burglaries as notorious criminals get jail release for Christmas
Gardai will be on red alert over the coming week as notorious burglary suspects are temporarily released from prison for Christmas.
The move usually leads to a spike in burglaries, said a source close to the gardai.
The situation is made worse because homes full of expensive Christmas gifts are often left unoccupied as people go out to enjoy time with family and friends or attend office parties.
Last year, of the 3,700 prison population, 204 were temporarily released for the festive season.
Sources have revealed gardai in south Dublin fear at least half a dozen prolific burglars will be freed over Christmas.
However, they are hopeful that a special operation carried out by Dublin Eastern Garda Division in Tallaght last week against one of the country's most prolific burglary gangs will help stem the flow of criminals into the area. Three houses were raided amd one arrest was made, according to sources.
A total of 242 prisoners were granted temporary release for Christmas in 2014
"It is a cause of concern and these individuals will need to be closely monitored," a source told the Herald.
South Dublin has among the worst burglary rates in the country despite major garda initiatives to tackle the problem.
This included the use of heat map technology analysis in an attempt to combat the epidemic and the setting up of a special 14-man burglary response unit.
In total, there were 2,290 burglaries last year in the Dublin Eastern Garda Division, which covers south Dublin.
But it is understood that these shocking figures have been reduced this year, in part because many of the main players are behind bars.
There has been a 31pc drop in the level of burglary crime nationwide in the first half of 2016, according to Central Statistics Office figures released this week. There has been a significant reduction in south Dublin as well.
Last year, the area policed by Dundrum Garda Station had a 32.48pc increase in burglaries with 775 occurring there.
The situation was not much better in the nearby areas which are policed by Cabinteely and Blackrock Garda Stations.
Here, there were increases of 20.34pc and 18.7pc respectively, meaning a total of 845 burglaries were investigated by officers from these two stations last year.
In the same division, there was a 31.1pc increase in burglaries in the Shankill Garda Station area meaning that 251 of these crimes happened last year.
The area covered by Dun Laoghaire Garda Station saw the lowest percentage rise in burglaries at 11.4pc but there was still 419 instances of that crime in 2015.