Three Community Text Alert Schemes were launched in the last week across south Leitrim and there are hopes that the initiative will spread into north Leitrim in the coming months.
Community Alert Schemes have been organised in Cloone/Aughavas, Hartley and Dromod in the last few days and local residents have already rowed in behind the initiative.
The idea behind the schemes is to bring the local community together in a bid to identify suspicious individuals or vehicles and, working in tandem with the gardai, to ensure that those suspected of committing crime are monitored in a bid to reduce the incidence of theft.
A number of Community Text Alert Schemes have been set up in the past few months and gardai have already made a number of arrests because of the information that such schemes have fed back through members.
Joining your local scheme is very easy. Just put w5 in a specially marked envelope and write your name and mobile number on the outside so you can be added to the scheme’s data base. All members of each scheme will be issued with an initial text alert which will contain the number of the gardai to contact if you notice anyone or any suspicious people in your locality. Ring the gardai and report the incident including the location, description of the person or the car and the car registration, if applicable. Gardai will then conduct an initial investigation and, if the car or individual is of interest, they will contact the leaders of the scheme and they will issue a mass text alert to the mobiles of all paid members on the scheme. Gardai will also contact nearby schemes to ensure that as wide an area as possible is covered by the alert.
Members will then be asked to keep an eye out for the suspicious vehicle or person and to report their movements to gardai who will then track the suspect.
Membership covers the costs of setting up and running the scheme and the purchase of Community Text Alert Signage which will also be put in place to mark areas covered by individual schemes.
The more members who join a scheme, the more effective it will be. Schemes are already in place in Carrigallen/Newtowngore, Ballinamore, Mohill, Keshcarrigan and Eslin and other communities are looking at getting involved in the project.
With a number of successful arrests already arising as a direct result of the scheme the merits of such an initiative are obvious and, with reports of substantial increases in the number of burglars targeting homes across the region in recent months, it is more important than ever that we remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious incidents. Contact your local scheme to join.