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Galway gardaí braced for upsurge in rural burglaries

Senior Galway Gardaí are preparing for a spike in burglaries and property crime this winter – the first without Covid restrictions since 2019.

Burglaries in County Galway increased by 3% so far in the year to the end of August, when a total of 129 burglaries were recorded over eight months.

And a County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting heard this week a further increase in burglaries is likely as more workers return to the office this winter, compared with recent years when they worked from home during Covid.

Councillor Mary Hoade (FF) said as the evenings become darker it was important for parishes to establish or reactivate Community Alert schemes.

There was no substitute for locals being the ‘eyes and ears’ of Gardaí on the ground, and it was important communities remained vigilant, she said.

Councillor Pete Roche (FG) suggested that with people returning to the workplace after Covid, rather than working from home, burglaries are on the rise in rural areas. He was aware of break-ins in Abbeyknockmoy but it was a countywide problem.

Councillor Colm Keaveney (FF) said Galway County Council should provide better its tenants with protection, such as windows and doors, in its social housing stock.

Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Michael Walsh agreed that building standards was important when protecting homes from burglaries.

And he called for legislators to introduce building standards, similar to the UK, where it’s obligatory to use more secure windows and doors in new builds.

He said burglars targeted rural homes for cash and jewellery, and they would use anything, including shovels or screwdrivers, “to break down your door”.

Superintendent Seán Glynn confirmed thefts from vehicles in County Galway in the first eight months of this year was up by 8% to 54; thefts from county shops rose by a 385 to 181 incidents compared with last year; and other theft rose by 9% to 147.

Supt Glynn said that the opening-up of the economy and society after Covid lockdowns last year, had contributed to the increase in property crimes.

Elsewhere, public order offences are up 3% to 177 incidents; assaults causing harm are up 21% to 63 incidents; and minor assaults increased by 16% to 227 incidents.

Domestic incidents, including breaches of barring orders, safety orders and protection orders, was down by 8% to 57 but he confirmed that domestic incidents where no offence was disclosed had increased by 13% to 440.

There were six fewer sexual assaults, down 17% to 30 incidents, according to the local Garda crime report presented to the Joint Policing Committee (JPC).

(Photo: Superintendent Sean Glynn)

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