Representatives from An Garda Síochána hosted an open meeting for residents of the Delvin & Killucan sub district at St Patrick’s Hall on Thursday 18th October. In attendance were Peter Duffy – Chief Superintendent for Westmeath, and Alan Murray – Superintendent for Mullingar. They were joined by colleagues Inspector Jarlath Folan, Sergeant Paddy Guinan – Crime Prevention Officer for Westmeath, as well as representatives from Delvin and Killucan garda stations.
Address by Peter Duffy
- Local crime statistics for the period 01/01/18 – 17/10/18 showed there were 16 burglaries in this sub district. Most were countryside burglaries.
- It is important that residents contact the gardai if they notice anything suspicious in their areas – irrespective of where they live.
- As an example, a suspicious car was noticed abandoned on an estate in Collinstown recently and when investigated, the car had been reported stolen in Cavan.
- As a rule, if you think you should call the gardai about something you have seen, you should call the gardai about it.
- Seemingly insignificant details can be pieced together by the gardai to build a better picture of what they are dealing with. For example, one person may spot a blue car, another may spot a partial number plate and another the make of the car – now they know its a blue Honda with a 16 D registration.
- Not all patrols are covert. Gardai frequently used unmarked patrols to monitor behaviour.
Crime Prevention Officer Presentation
We are entering a critical time of year with darker and longer evenings ahead.
- In rural areas, popular points of access are windows at the rear of the premises.
- A burglar in a rural area will often break the glass as they are less concerned about making noise than they would be in an urban area where there are people about. In urban areas (including estates), windows may be forced to limit noise.
- Most burglaries are opportunistic. You can reduce your risk by improving sight-lines around your property, locking windows and removing any implements that may assist a burglar in gaining access to a property – ladders, bins (to give height) and garden tools.
- Wherever possible, try to ensure your property has good quality windows and doors. Doors should have 5/2 lever locks and you should consider fitting anti-lift devices to sliding doors.
- Signs of activity in and around a property can help deter a would-be burglar. This includes good neighbours keeping a watch.
- Properly illuminating your property is an excellent deterrent. Make sure your floodlights are angled downward so that they light up your property and that anyone interfering with doors etc will be in full light and not in shadow.
- Maintaining hedges and keeping a line of sight around your property can help neighbours spot if anything is out of place on your property.
- Remember the “3 minute rule” – the longer you can keep a burglar out, the more likely it is that they will give up or be spotted. Make the burglar feel vulnerable!
A dog is also a good way of scaring off would-be intruders.
- If you have an alarm, be sure to use it. If a zoning facility is installed, consider having day and night settings so that areas that are not in use are always alarmed. Ensure that your alarm complies with current regulations and that it is serviced regularly.
Other Ways To Protect Yourself & Your Property
- Do not leave valuables in clear sight when leaving your car. Put handbags, laptops and even documents away.
- Use a UV Pen to mark valuables with your eircode. Although invisble to the naked eye, these markings make it harder for thieves to sell on stolen property but makes it easier for gardai to trace the rightful owner if recovered.
- Photograph your jewelry, preferably next to a ruler or a coin to show size. This can also help identify stolen property.
- Keep a register of your most valuable possessions as this will help identify losses.
- Gardai regularly recover stolen items and have great difficulty in identifying the true owners. Taking these steps may help them to reunite you with your property if you are a victim of crime.
- If you are a farmer or have industrial equipment that needs marking, please contact the Crime Prevention Officer as he has a special kit for this.
- A particular issue in areas such as Delvin!
- Be wary of unsolicited callers offering painting, gutter clearing, power-washing, roof repairs, tree cutting etc.
- More often that not, reputable businesses will not call door to door (though they might drop in flyers). You would be better served to look up professionals yourself or seek advice from neighbours for reputable recommendations.
- Door to door callers may charge exorbitant prices and particularly ruthless callers have been known to bring vulnerable people to the ATM to withdraw money.
Fraudsters & Scams
- You have the right to ask any caller for ID at the door – it’s your house!
- Be aware that some bogus callers may seem to have legitimate reason for the call – to check your roof, water supply etc. When in doubt, keep them out.
- When answering the phone, remember that your bank will NEVER ask for your account information. It is not unheard of for scammers to impersonate bank staff – even down to capturing their telephone numbers to fool those using caller ID.
- Remember that scammers can “phish” – capture small pieces of information about you – to help them steal your identity.
- When responding to “official” emails, use “forward” to respond to an email address you have used before and which you trust.
Your Local Gardai
- Make a note of your local garda numbers.
Mullingar – 044 938 4000
Delvin – 044 966 8100
Killucan – 044 937 4112
- In an emergency, always dial 999
Questions From The Public
Q: How many garda officers are there in Delvin?
A: There are 8, including 1 sergeant.
Q: Can CCTV footage be shared on public websites to help identify thieves?
A: No. If you have footage of a crime in progress, you must share it with the gardai and they will take appropriate action. CCTV on public land is subject to a number of privacy laws and must be managed properly.
Q: Can I protect my home from intruders / attack?
A: Yes, but within reason. You have the right to defend your home and property and that the force you use must be in context – i.e. killing a burglar will probably still land you in jail.
Q: Why do we not get feedback on crimes that have affected us?
A: Gardai are making an effort to improve the followup information they offer to victims of crime – criminal proceedings etc. This is a work in progress.
Q: Will additional garda officers be deployed to this area?
A: There is considerable competition between districts when new resources are being allocated but they will do what they can.
Delvin Community Alert AGM
Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Delvin Community Alert will take place at 8pm on Thursday 1st November in the Fatima Room next to Delvin church. All welcome.