Winter Thor: Gardai launch anti-burglary drive despite drop in break-ins in Waterford
Home breaks-ins during the winter months have fallen by close to 40% over the last number of years and gardai plan to keep this figures even lower as they launched an operation aimed at intercepting burglars and preventing break-ins around Waterford.
Gardai this week launched the Winter Phase of Operation Thor, which will run until the end of March 2021. The operation is designed to tackle the anticipated increase in the number of burglaries and associated criminal activity that usually occur during the winter months.
International evidence shows there is generally an increase of up to 20% in burglaries during the winter months the evenings get darker earlier. Some 42.4% of all burglaries occur between the hours of 4pm to 9pm, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday the most likely days for break-ins to occur.
Previous incarnations of Operation Thor have successfully reduced the rate of winter burglaries in Waterford, leading to a significant decline in property related crime since its introduction in 2015.
Nationally, the number of residential burglaries reported during Q4 2011 – Q1 2015 (Q4 and Q1 i.e. six months) was an average of 11,592. This has dropped to an average of 6,980 since Q4 2015 to the present day, a decrease of 39.8%.
Commenting on the new operation, Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll with responsibility for Organised & Serious Crime said: “An Garda Síochána has launched the winter phase of Operation Thor with a renewed focus on interrupting and preventing burglary and related crime. This type of crime has a particularly devastating effect on its victims and we in An Garda Síochána are determined to impact on the activities of criminals involved in the commission of this crime.”
An Garda Síochana confirmed residential burglaries in 2020 has fallen since the pandemic hit. From March to August inclusive, there were 43.1% fewer residential burglaries reported compared to the same period in 2019. Despite these positive figures, the gardai are pressing ahead with Operation Thor to capitalise on this success.
Operation Thor Winter Phase will focus on five main areas to reduce burglary incidents and protect communities:
*Crime prevention and protecting communities;
*Crime investigation and operational activity;
*Working in partnership with other government agencies;
*Education and awareness;
Gardai have urged householders to take some simple steps to help protect their home.
These include turning on some lights, using timer switches, locking all doors and windows, using an alarm and storing keys away from windows. They have also urged people not to keep large amounts of cash or jewellery in the house.