Muintir na Tíre launched Operation ID – a crime prevention programme using property marking to reduce theft and facilitate recovery of stolen property – to a packed hall in Schull in early March. Paddy Byrne, National President of Muintir na Tíre launched the pilot project in conjunction with three local Community Councils – Schull, Ballydehob and Goleen.
He said “Muintir na Tíre has long been associated with community development and is well known for the operation of the Community Alert and Text Alert programmes. It is wonderful to see three of our groups come together to launch another innovative programme, which will improve the quality of life on the Mizen peninsula and ultimately all over Ireland.”
Chie Superintendent Tom Hayes outlined the Garda support for all new crime prevention programmes and that the Gardaí looked forward to working with the communities on this one. He added “Time and again these communities identify solutions to their own issues”.
Niall Garvey, CEO of Muintir na Tíre, outlined how the programme would operate in some detail. He said “This programme is different to anything else out there in that it is Community led and this is what will ensure its success”. He explained how communities would deliver the programme through existing structures and that “this will ensure that entire areas have their property marked and will have signage to this effect. This will give notice to would-be criminals that it is not worth operating in that area”.
He added this would be done at nominal cost to the communities and that “the equipment we are using is state of the art engraving equipment widely used by UK Police forces. It provides discreet but professional marking in seconds”.
He continued “We believe this will greatly reduce the numbers of items being stolen, but if items are stolen and then recovered, they can be easily returned to their rightful owners. This is done through a national database recording the owner details. The item will be marked with the owner’s Eircode – possibly the best use yet of the new system – but the database will have further contact details. The database can also be used for subsequent changes of ownership, checking if items are stolen and so on.”
There then followed a demonstration of the marking equipment from the suppliers, showing how all common items – bicycles, garden equipment, sports equipment, computer equipment and so on – could be easily and effectively marked.
In concluding, Paddy Byrne thanked everybody for their involvement in getting to this stage – the local Community Councils, An Garda Síochána, Neighbourhood Watch, and Development Officer James O’Neill. “Muintir na Tíre continues to enable communities throughout Ireland, including such recent initiatives as Save Rural Ireland. We look forward to Operation ID improving the quality of life for all communities,” he said.