The gardai are targeting mobile criminal gangs in North Tipperary under an operation called Operation Rim, according to Supt Bob Noonan
He told Nenagh area councillors that the force was monitoring motorway exits early in thbe morning and late at night and Traffic Corps patrol cars had on board computers that can recognise suspicious car registration numbers.
“It is a deterrent to travelling criminals and has to be an ongoing excercise,” he said. “We don’t have any firm evidence on the ground that criminals have spotters in rural areas but that could be happening.” However, he said the gardai use “the press and the pulpit” to get their message out about being security conscious.
Supt Noonan told Cllr Mattie Ryan that they had met the local community in Toomevara this month to discuss rural crime and would be meeting people in Silvermines as well. He paid tribute to the work liaison officer Sgt Tom Dilea was doing with local communities.
“Crime is a particular worry for elderly people. It is a horible thing to have to go to an elderly person and see the fear that is there. It is not nice to find someone in your hallway,” he said.
The Garda chief said he was a “strong advocate” of the Text Alert system and warned that sometimes Community Alert groups can fall away, especially if an area had been quiet for a while.
Independent Cllr Joe Hannigan said that CCTV would be a boost for traders in Borrisokane.
“There are a lot of flying columns of criminals and I view Borrisokane as a sort of a hub,” he said. “It has a lot of through traffic and CCTV may help in tracking vehicles.”
The issue of CCTV in the town was also raised by Cllr Michael O’Meara who said Borrisokane could “always do with a few extra gardai”. Cllr Phyll Bugler asked about having CCTV installed in Ballina and Newport.
However, Supt Noonan said that while he would “never refuse extra gardai and, hopefully, the new recruitment campaign will go some way towards that”, cost would have to be a factor in installing CCTV in towns and villages.
However he said there was “no doubt” the area would benefit from CCTV.
Supt Noonan also told Cllr O’Meara that CCTV footage was admissable as evidence when it came to court cases.