A public meeting on crime in Finglas has heard calls from local residents for statutory supports for community crime safety forums.
Around 50 residents attended the meeting in the Shamrock Lodge in Finglas last night, organised local Fianna Fáil Councillors Paul McAuliffe and David Costello. The Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD was a guest speaker, along with security expert Peter Murray.
Concerns were raised about the fact that the Crime Safety Forums in some areas of Dublin are unworkable, while other areas have highly effective forums where local residents can engage directly with the gardaí on a confidential basis.
Cllr Paul McAuliffe explained, “The community safety forum model has proved extremely effective in areas like Ballymun and Finglas, where residents are given regular opportunities to engage with local gardaí and come up with solutions to local crime problems. Meanwhile other densely populated areas like Drumcondra and Santry are left without this facility.
“This is because there is no statutory basis for Crime Safety Forums. They come under the remit of local authorities, but there is no statutory funding. Some are funded through local drugs taskforces or regeneration projects, while others have no funding at all and are rendered useless. They can’t employ coordinators to manage the process and conduct the necessary work in between meetings, so the system doesn’t work.
“The gardaí have described the Crime Safety Forums as an extremely useful way of working with communities to tackle local crime problems and keep the streets, homes and businesses safe. At a time when the rate of burglaries, thefts, drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour is on the rise in communities across Dublin, it makes sense for us to start supporting this community engagement model on a statutory basis. The gardaí need every support they can get at this time and Dubliners who have been plagued by rising crime levels in their communities need a way of engaging with the gardaí,” the Fianna Fáil Leader on Dublin City Council said.
At the meeting last night, many residents raised concerns about the increasing threat to home safety as the level of burglaries and anti-social behaviour continues to rise.
The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins said, “The reality is that there has been a surge in crime levels in communities across Dublin. New figures released to me by the Department of Justice two weeks ago show that garda numbers in Dublin have been slashed to the bone, with most garda divisions in Dublin now operating with 100 less gardaí than they were 5 years ago. Garda Drugs Units in Dublin have seen their manpower and resources halved. And communities are bearing the brunt of this.
“People who attended our meeting in Finglas have said they need greater engagement with gardaí to keep their communities safe. As the Crime Safety Forums have worked so well in some areas, we believe it’s necessary that all areas start to see the benefit of this.”