Report claims burglaries rose 35 per cent in 2017 while Garda stats show 46 per cent fall this year

A senior Donegal garda yesterday welcomed new figures from An Garda Siochana that home burglaries have dropped in the county for far this year.

The Garda stats appeared just 24 hours before a report by security company Phone Watch focused on official Central Statistic Office (CSO) figures for all of 2017.

On Monday, Donegal Now reported here that gardai have put the squeeze on crooks during the first three months of this year – after An Garda Siochana released provisional figures to show there were 62 residential burglaries in Donegal for the first quarter of 2018, compared to 115 burglaries over the same three-month period in 2017 (a fall of 46 per cent).

Phone Watch then published its 2017 Burglary Report on Tuesday to show there were 292 burglaries in Donegal for all of that year, compared to 217 burglaries throughout 2016 (a jump of 35 per cent).

Donegal’s worst hit areas for burglaries, according to the CSO figures, were Letterkenny (95 burglaries), Carndonagh (16) and Ballybofey (16).

Burglary figures for Letterkenny in all of 2017, accordng to Phone Watch analysis of CSO stats Burglary figures for Letterkenny in all of 2017, according to Phone Watch analysis of CSO stats.

The provisional Garda figures, which are yet to be formally verified by the CSO, represent a significant turnaround for Donegal.

However, Donegal’s Crime Prevention Officer, Garda Sergeant Paul Wallace, has urged that vigilance and caution must remain a top priority for homes and businesses in the county.

He said: “It’s good to see a fall in any area of crime. There were 115 burglaries reported in the year-to-date for 2017 and 62 [so far] this year – that’s a 46 per cent drop for Donegal.

“The CSO has to verify those figures.”

Sgt Wallace pointed out that crime figures can be misleading and revealed he does not get too excited by them.

Donegal Crime Prevention Officer Garda Sergeant Paul Wallace Donegal Crime Prevention Officer Garda Sergeant Paul Wallace.

He said: “The Dungloe district had one burglary last year and this year there have been five, which is a 400 per cent increase.

“That’s one-in-five, but that’s still a violation of people’s property and it’s five too many.”

He added: “If you have been burgled, you report it [to gardai]. Burglary is very traumatic for people and there are insurance considerations and the insurance company will look for a [Garda] Pulse reference number.

“In Donegal, there are four Garda Superintendents and one Garda Chief Superintendent and they meet every month. If incidences of burglary aren’t reported, gardai can’t respond.”

He continued: “I never like to jump up and down [about crime figures] and say ‘this is great’. People, who have been victims of commercial crime, will not be [affected] by these [residential burglary] stats.

“Some rural shops are isolated and are still being targeted. A lot of people do not how to contact gardai.

“Donegal has four 24/7 Garda stations and these are Buncrana, Letterkenny, Milford, and Ballyshannon. There’s no point in contacting your local Garda station.”

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