RESIDENTS in an exclusive neighbourhood have been forced to hire a private security firm as they battle a burglary epidemic.
Homeowners in one estate are living in an "air of fear and anger" following a spate of incidents where thieves have used jammers to disable alarm systems and phones and rob houses.
There have been at least 11 burglaries in the Carrickmines Wood estate in Foxrock in the past two months with four occurring this month so far.
Residents of the estate are so concerned that they have held what is described as "a very angry" public meeting which was attended by local gardai.
Sources say there is an "air of fear and anger" in the estate which was described as '"probably the most expensive new homes development under construction in Dublin'' when the first homes in it were released for sale in 1999.
The residents have now hired a private security company to patrol Carrickmines Wood at night as gardai struggle to battle the burglary epidemic.
Like elsewhere in the country, in many of the burglaries in the estate, criminal gangs have been using GSM jammers which emit a powerful signal that blocks intruder alerts sent by alarm systems to monitoring stations as well as phone signals.
A previous Herald investigation revealed that these sophisticated jamming devices can be bought for just €20 on the internet and some of these have the capacity to block monitored alarm systems throughout an entire estate.
A source explained: "Like in lots of estates all over Ireland, people in Carrickmines Wood are terrified to stay in their own homes.
"These gangs are also just busting in doors of houses -- tens of thousands of euro worth of goods and cars have been stolen from homes there in the past few weeks.
"The situation is so bad that this week residents employed a private security guard to patrol the estate because gardai can't be there all the time -- people are at their wits' end.
"Cabinteely Garda Station is the local station and there are fears that the situation is going to get even worse. At the moment there are plans to downgrade the station so how the hell are gardai going to be able to respond to this crisis in the future?"
Derek Mooney is managing director of Alarm Control 24, a company that has developed a long-range radio-based alarm monitoring system to counter these jamming devices.
He told the Herald that jamming devices could be defeated by alarm systems that rely on radio signals, rather than GSM, to communicate with monitoring stations.
"Jammers cannot block radio signals which do not use the cellular network to send and receive messages," Mr Mooney pointed out.