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"How can you make your community safer”

Garda Commissioner launches ‘Supporting Safer Communities’ campaign on the 31/5/11.

     *     In one third of all burglaries, entry is gained through the front door. 
     *     Almost one quarter of burglaries take place between 12pm and 4pm, with Thursday and Friday the most likely day for burglaries to take place.
     *    Garda appeal for safety on the roads this June bank holiday weekend:  half of fatal road collisions happen between 4pm on Friday and 6am on Monday. 

Dublin, 31 May 2011: Members of the public are being asked how they can make the communities where they live, work and study safer for themselves and others. An Garda Síochána has today announced details of its ‘Supporting Safer Communities’ campaign, which runs from 1 – 6 June 2011. The aim of the campaign is to actively engage and work with all sections of the community, to achieve improved safety across Ireland. 

The campaign was launched today at Store Street Garda Station in Dublin city centre by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Gardaí are asking members of the public to assist them by taking responsibility for safety in the community for their own benefit and the benefit of others.  

Speaking at the launch, Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, stated: "Community safety is everyone’s responsibility. I am asking all members of the community to keep their eyes and ears open and to report any suspicious behaviour to Gardaí. An Garda Síochána is committed to reducing crime and road deaths in our society and we are appealing to people to help us in this task. Throughout this campaign, Gardaí will engage with members of the community to deliver a series of community safety messages and to provide practical tips on keeping safe.”  

The campaign will focus in particular on burglaries and road safety. Based on data from 2004 to 2010, there was a drop in residential burglaries during the summer months and An Garda Síochána is committed to improving on this positive trend in 2011. Over one third of our road deaths occur over the summer months so the campaign will highlight the ongoing need for all road users to be aware of road safety and to use our roads carefully at all times.  

Almost one quarter of burglaries take place between 12pm and 4pm, with Thursday and Friday the most likely day for burglaries to take place.  

As the June bank holiday weekend approaches, Gardaí are appealing to all road users to stay safe on the roads. Inappropriate speed is the biggest single factor in fatal and serious collisions. Nine out of ten pedestrians will die when struck by a car travelling at 60kph or more.  

The number of young people losing their lives on Ireland’s roads represents almost half of the total: 44.9% of people killed on our roads are aged between 16 and 30 year olds. More than three quarters are male (75.4%) and 24.6% are female. The weekend continues to be the part of the week when most fatal collisions take place: 49.8% of fatal collisions occur between 4pm on a Friday and 6am on a Monday.  

Over the last five years during the period corresponding to this campaign, 28 people lost their lives and 51 were seriously injured on our roads. Last year, during the same period, three lives were lost and six people were seriously injured.  

Referring to the June bank holiday and the coming summer months, Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, added: "I want to particularly emphasise the need for personal responsibility among all road users, at all times. It’s too late for remonstrations and recriminations if you’re standing at the graveside or visiting someone in hospital. As a road user, road safety is your responsibility. Please don’t let your actions make this bank holiday weekend one to remember for all the wrong reasons. Stay safe.”  

The campaign will also provide advice to the community on other crime prevention topics, including theft from vehicles, theft of pedal cycles, and theft of farm machinery, as these types of crimes tend to increase over the summer months.  

Gardaí will organise a number of activities throughout Ireland during the campaign, in order to reinforce the campaign messages, including:  

   #   ‘Supporting Safer Communities’ posters on Luas and Dublin Bus; 
   #   ‘Supporting Safer Communities’ stand at Bloom garden festival in Phoenix Park, Dublin;
   #  Leaflets and posters on keeping your property safe produced by the Irish Crimestoppers Trust; 
   # Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch meetings taking place nationwide during the campaign;

   # Crime prevention and community safety advice leaflets available to the public in several forums, including Public Libraries and the Garda Website;
    # A number of strategic nationwide ‘High Visibility’ Policing initiatives involving the Garda Traffic Corps, Garda Mounted Unit, Crime Prevention Officers and the new Garda Mobile Incident Command Units. 

Concluding, the Garda Commissioner, Mr Martin Callinan, said: "An Garda Siochana ‘Supporting Safer Communities’ Campaign will help people all over Ireland to learn about the simple steps they can take to improve safety for themselves and others,  to reduce crime and the opportunities for crime and keep themselves and other road users safe.  

To request an interview, please contact the Garda Press Office -Tel: 01 666 2071

Email: pressoffice@garda.ie  

Note for editors:

Crime prevention and Road Safety advice, and information on local events taking place your community will be available through the Garda website or by contacting your local Garda station.  

The campaign will see Gardaí actively engaging with communities in order to raise awareness of ways to prevent and reduce crime during the summer months. Gardaí have provided the following advice to the public to prevent crime and improve public safety. Further information and resources are available at www.garda.ie 

Road Safety advice:  

1.      Speed - Always travel at a speed that enables you to stop in the distance you can see ahead of you to be clear, regardless of the speed limit.  Always slow down when weather and road conditions deteriorate or when visibility is reduced. Reduce your speed where there are likely to be pedestrians, especially at night on unlit roads.

2.      Alcohol and Drugs - Remember alcohol takes time to process through your body (1 unit of alcohol = ½ pint beer takes 1 hour). This is especially important the morning after. Alcohol and drugs will impair your ability to drive and effect your judgement, reactions, vision and ability to make decisions.

3.      Fatigue - Never ignore the signs of fatigue – the consequences could be fatal. Research indicates that fatigue could be a factor in 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland. If feeling the effects of fatigue – STOP the car, take a break (Get a coffee or take a short nap).  Don’t be tempted to keep driving if you are nearly home – you may not make it.                           

4.      Seat Belts - Make sure that every occupant of the car is wearing a seat belt – it won’t stop a crash but it may save your life in that crash. As a driver you are responsible for ensuring that every passenger under 17 yrs of age is wearing a seatbelt – prosecution will result in a fine and penalty points.

5.      Mobile Phones - It’s hard to concentrate on 2 things at the same time, missing a call won’t kill you. Remember texting or reading a text will also distract you and may kill you and/or your passengers. SWITCH OFF – BEFORE YOU DRIVE OFF.  It is an offence in Ireland to use a hand held mobile phone.  

Preventing burglaries:  

1.      Lock your doors and windows, sounds simple, but the data tells us we are not locking our front doors or rear windows. One in three burglaries could have been prevented by this simple action.

2.      When we are in our homes and gardens we should also lock doors and windows which are out of our view.

3.      When leaving our homes, ensure the doors and windows are fully secured. Use your security alarm, if you have one. Ask a neighbour or friend to check your house if you are away for longer periods. Lock and secure your sheds/garages, tools and ladders are valuable property and aids to burglars.

4.      The home security ‘check-list challenge’ is available on the Garda website. This guide will give you even more ways to secure your home and help us reduce the number of burglaries through out the year.  

Preventing thefts from vehicles:  

1.      Ensure all windows and doors are locked. Set your alarm. Never leave the keys in the ignition or the engine running; you could compromise your insurance cover.

2.      Never leave valuables inside the car, if you can’t take them with you, lock them in the boot, but do this out of sight. Never leave property under the seat, it is not a secure location and property can often be seen. Leaving cash or credit cards on view is an invitation for an opportunist thief to break into your car.

3.      Park in a well lit area and avoid parking in isolated places.  

Preventing thefts of farm machinery:  

1.      Store your tools and smaller machinery in secured buildings close to the farmhouse. Photograph machinery and tools, keep a detailed record of make, serial number and colour.  Mark the property with a uniquely identifiable brand in both obvious and secret locations. For firearms storage, use a secure firearms cabinet, secured to a solid wall.

2.      Restrict access to your farmyard, install gates and fix them to sturdy concrete or metal posts. Keep them locked and consider appropriate signage such as "private property”.

3.      Consider installing an alarm and CCTV in vulnerable areas out of view of the farm house. Install good lighting to illuminate areas viewed from the home or covered by CCTV.

4.      Consider joining a Community Alert scheme or starting your own. Report suspicious activity to local Gardaí immediately.  

6.      Mobile Phones - It’s hard to concentrate on 2 things at the same time, missing a call won’t kill you. Remember texting or reading a text will also distract you and may kill you and/or your passengers. SWITCH OFF – BEFORE YOU DRIVE OFF.  It is an offence in Ireland to use a hand held mobile phone.  

Preventing thefts of pedal cycles:  

1.      Keep your bicycle in a secure location; avoid leaving bicycles, even for short periods, unattended in driveways, etc. Use a good quality lock and always secure your bike to an immovable object, ensuring frame and wheels are locked.

2.      Keep a written record of the make, model and frame number. Take and store a coloured photograph of the bicycle.

3.      Security mark your bicycle in at least two separate places, clearly visible and not capable of being removed. Consider placing a sticker warning that your bicycle is security marked. For very valuable bicycles consider an electronic tracking device inserted within the frame.

Garda Press Office.