Burglary rates in the Fermanagh and Omagh district have risen by 20 per cent this year the Impartial Reporter can reveal with Temporary Superintendent Clive Beatty, believing that the “majority of burglaries are bring carried out by travelling crime gangs from the Republic of Ireland”.

In 2018, from April 1 to November 22, there were 190 burglaries. That figure has risen to 238 in the same time period this year, which equates to one burglary per day in the Fermanagh Omagh District.

Superintendent Beatty explained that the crime gangs are striking quickly and then escaping back across the Border.

“These travelling crime gangs are exploiting the Border. We can see that from the recent spate of burglaries that occurred in Newtownbutler, Rosslea and Derrylin. As soon as the houses were hit they slipped across the Border,” he said, adding:

“We have terrific co-operation with An Garda Síochána and work very closely with them and perform joint operations but the reality is that it makes it more difficult for us when these crime gangs operate like that.”

Superintendent Beatty also believes that the thefts are more random than premeditated in terms of what houses are being targeted.

“We believe that these gangs are coming into an area and simply looking for empty houses and then leaving the area after. We don’t believe that in the majority of cases, houses are being targeted and scoped out before the burglary takes place.”

The District Commander also says that it is much better to prevent crime than to solve it and he is calling on the public to play their part.

“Policing is far too important to leave just to the police. That is why we are always urging people to stay vigilant and report anything suspicious that they see. We often find that when we interview neighbours after a theft that they say that they did see a strange car in the area and so on.

“And of course it can be hard at the time to notice everything but what we do say is if for whatever reason you think something is not right to follow your gut. Get the model, the colour and the registration of the car and then phone the police on 101,” he said before continuing:

“We can check the car and of course no-body is going to mind getting checked out if they have a legitimate reason to be in the area. But if we check and see something suspicious then we can take further action,” Superintendent Beatty explained.

He also went on to explain what steps the public can make to ensure they do not fall victim of burglars.

“The number one thing is not to keep money in the house. We often hear that people say they keep money in the house just in case something goes wrong. We would advise against that.

“Money and jewellery are the two things that these people want to take. Increasingly we are seeing that iPads and mobile phones are not being taken because they are password protected and often they can easily be tracked as well,” the District Commander said.

“Another simply step you can take is to always leave a light on, or even better have timer switches so lights go on in different rooms of the house at different times.

“That can be an effective deterrent as can leaving the radio on, especially on a station where there is a talk show on. Often the burglar will ring the door and wait to see if they can hear anything. So leave the radio on when you go out.”

In conclusion Superintendent Beatty said that “there is no getting away from the fact that these types of crimes are on the rise, and that is across the whole service.

“So it is important that the public and police do everything that we can to prevent them from happening,” he said