A series of fourteen burglaries in one area of Letterkenny over the past two weeks and an attempted theft from a wake house has prompted serious concerns among local residents.
Speaking after a specially organised crime prevention meeting in the area on Tuesday night, local councillor and Town Mayor, Gerry McMonagle, who was involved in organising the event, said people were extremely fearful and the attendance at the meeting had confirmed those fears.
“We’ve had burglaries in the Long Lane, Meadowbank, Slieve Sneacht and Dr. McGinley Road areas over a two week period and an attempt to rob a wake house last week. These criminals will sink to any depths.
“We had another wake house robbed not too long ago when burglars got away with a whole range of items.”
Concerned residents met with Garda Superintendent, Vincent O’Brien, who pledged to increase Garda patrols in the area.
“True to his word, he has done that but there’s a lot of fear out there and people are looking for reassurances,” said cllr. McMonagle.
An individual, wearing a hoodie, was about to open the door of the wake house but ran away when confronted. A number of other homes in the area were also targeted on the same day.
Addressing this week’s meeting, Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sgt. Paul Wallace said criminals had taken to listening to obituary notices on the radio and ten motorist attending a wake recently had their cars broken into.
On house burglaries, he revealed that eight out of ten such incidents occurred when residents were at home. Saturday was the most targeted day with burglars rarely spending more than three minutes in each house.
Insisted the Crime Prevention Officer:“Gardai need an active community to help them prevent crime. It’s all about trying to reduce the impact and the fear of crime.”
Commenting on the haul of burglary proceeds recovered in a house in Letterkenny recently, he said it had been as the result of an “intelligence flow” which had helped in locating the goods.
During the meeting, Sgt. Wallace focused on a range of measures householders and car owners needed to employ to combat burglars and thieves.
Cllr. McMonagle said the main message to be taken from the meeting was that to be safe they needed to work in partnership with the Gardai. “Don’t be afraid to come to the Gardai and inform them of any suspicious activity in your area.”
Sgt. Wallace cited an increase in property related crimes in all Donegal Garda Divisional areas in the most recent figures including Letterkenny, Milford, Ballyshannon, Glenties and Buncrana.
“Crime is a community problem and as such we should all be on the alert,” he maintained.