Don’t pay criminals to keep cars safe

by Gazette Reporter

Residents of the Crumlin-Kimmage area are being urged not to bend to the will of criminals in the area attempting to extort money from members of the public, and to contact gardai if they are threatened.
This follows reports of criminals threatening to damage or steal the cars of residents unless they pay them.
Figures show there were 157 cars reported stolen in the Dublin South Garda Division in the first three months of this year.
Cllr Catherine Ardagh (FF), Crumlin-Kimmage, contacted gardai following reports of several incidents where residents were asked to pay €50 to gangs to keep their cars safe overnight.
In one case, the residents of one road in Crumlin were forced to park their cars at Crumlin Garda Station overnight for fear of vandalism and theft.
Cllr Ardagh said: “Essentially, we are seeing brazen criminals threaten residents into paying them not to vandalise or steal their cars. It’s happening on a nightly basis in some cases.
“It’s causing great distress among many local residents who are not only afraid to leave their cars outside their own homes, they are now fearful of their own safety.”
She said she was contacted by the family of one resident whose windscreen was smashed outside her home, just days after her wing mirror was pulled off. Her neighbours had also been threatened, with criminals demanding €50 to keep each car safe overnight.
“I have contacted the local gardai and I am assured that the superintendent is taking this very seriously.
“We cannot allow a situation where criminal thugs are threatening ordinary residents on a daily basis. This is the lowest form of pathetic criminality.
“People who work hard to pay for their cars and keep their homes should not be subject to such threats in the very place that they should feel safe,” said Cllr Ardagh.
Chair of Dublin City Council’s joint policing committee Cllr Vincent Jackson (Ind) said that while he would not encourage people to be martyrs or vigilantes, he would urge them not to pay these criminals. Otherwise, he said, they may give the impression that they are easy targets and the criminals may return.
“This is a regular occurrence, where you get a few [criminals] in a community, and they think they can hold sway.
“The only reason they build up a belief that they hold sway is when they intimidate and people pay them anything. That gives them ammunition to continue on that ideology.
“I believe nobody should ever part with money under any circumstances,” he said.
He went on to say that An Garda Siochana has a confidential line for those who do not wish to be seen liaising with gardai, and a community relations officer, based in Blanchardstown, who will speak with people who have been intimidated.
A Garda spokesperson said the force “would encourage any person who has been intimidated in any fashion to report the matter immediately to their local Garda station, where the matter will be fully investigated”.

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