herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

'We're living in fear', say residents terrified by boom in burglary

PhoneWatch’s Eoin Dunne
PhoneWatch’s Eoin Dunne

A spate of burglaries in south Dublin has left some residents feeling "terrified in their own homes".

One woman, who lives on her own, told how she was "petrified" after recent break-ins in the Killiney and Shankill area.

"My husband died three years ago. At 6pm I lock all my doors and I stay upstairs for the evening," she said.

"I have a big front window upstairs where I can see my front door and I keep an eye out. I can't afford an alarm so I put chairs up against the door."

While she had not been burgled, the woman said she has seen "suspicious men" hanging around her front door.

"I was standing on my front porch one day talking to my neighbour two doors down. When she went back into the house, her handbag was gone. Someone had come in through the back door. It was that quick," she said.

"People are definitely living in fear. Every night there seems to be a burglary."

Local Fianna Fail activist Vinny Duran-Kearns said there had been an increase in burglaries in recent months.

"In the past two months I've heard of seven break-ins, three attempted break-ins and four car thefts. That's a lot for such a small area of Killiney and Shankill," he said.

"They're very brazen. They robbed an elderly woman's home when she was in hospital and they robbed an elderly couple while they were sitting in their home.

Crowbar

"They also robbed a young mother who was up late feeding her baby. Three men used a crowbar to get into her home and, when she chased them away, they just hopped into a car and drove off."

It comes after the Herald revealed how armed garda patrols have been stepped up in south Dublin in a bid to tackle a crime wave, with sources saying officers are dealing with at least half a dozen organised burglary gangs.

Despite this, latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show a drop in the number of recorded burglary and theft offences in 2016. The nationwide total fell by 7,823 (-29.8pc) on the previous year.

Reacting to the burglary figures, PhoneWatch managing director Eoin Dunne said it was positive to see a drop but "burglary remains all too common".

He said one in 12 households were becoming the victim of a crime each year.

Meanwhile, there was a significant jump in the number of murders and manslaughters last year, with 71 homicide offences recorded - an increase of eight on the previous year.

There were seven gun murders linked to the Hutch and Kinahan feud in 2016 and this may go some way to explaining the increase.

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