A YEAR after the brutal murder of a Limerick pensioner, there is still no CCTV camera in the area where she lived, despite it being home to many vulnerable older people. Metropolitan Councillor John Costello (SF) told a meeting of the Municipal Policing Committee of Limerick City and County Council that next month marks the anniversary of the death of Rose Hanrahan, who, it is believed, was followed, attacked and strangled in her home after collecting money from the post office.
“There have been two murders in Thomondgate in the last 12 months and we still don’t have a CCTV camera. A pole has been erected but there’s no camera. We have to push this on,” he said.
He was speaking after the committee was briefed by Gardaí on crime prevention measures and related subjects.
Crime prevention officer, Sergeant Bernie Leetch, told the meeting that there are now 52 text alert schemes operating in Limerick, mostly in rural areas with two in the city centre.
“Text alert enables communities to receive alerts about suspicious or criminal activities and raises awareness. It’s also good for local information and a tool for solving crime,” she explained.
She said that Gardaí send texts to designated people about suspicious vehicles or people or activity, as well as using the contact to give advice on crime prevention.
“Gardaí get information from the public and when we’re satisfied it is credible, we text or email the group contact.
“There is a small cost and there has to be a neighbourhood watch or community alert up and running for it to work,” she said. Sgt Leetch said she is available to help set up such groups.
Independent Limerick City North Councillor, John Gilligan said he was perplexed about sending out partial information about registrations of cars and asked why full registrations could not be given.
Sgt Leetch said that Gardaí only release the make, colour and partial registrations of suspect vehicles.
“We don’t want to put anyone in danger or anyone taking it on themselves to approach a vehicle or person,” she explained.
Limerick City East councillor Marion Hurley (FG) asked what a householder should do if confronted by an intruder.
“There’s a lot of daytime crime now. A neighbour was working in his home office when he discovered a woman wandering around his house. She said she was lost and he told her to get out. But could he have taken a photograph of her so the Gardaí could pursue it?” she asked.
Sgt Leetch said her advice was to keep downstairs doors and windows locked even if you’re at home.
“The most important person in that scenario is the homeowner. Don’t get into an altercation – just tell the intruder to get out and let them know that you’re ringing the Gardaí”.