The rate of burglaries has shot up by 14 per cent over the last five years, but the Government “has done nothing to counter this” and seems “entirely unaware of the scale of the problem”.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil city councillor Ollie Crowe, following recent break-ins in the Bohermore, Corrib Park, and Shantalla areas. The break-ins happened almost immediately after the residents had left their houses, raising fears that the perpetrators may have been carrying out surveillance on the houses.
Cllr Crowe is now calling on the Government to introduce mandatory minimum sentencing for those convicted of burglary and which would take account of any previous criminal record.
According to the Bohermore based councillor, there is a problem with short prison terms and inconsistent sentencing, with 80 per cent of burglars receive prison terms of less than five years, many significant less than that, while others serve “no prison time at all”.
His proposal calls for those convicted of burglary to have a sentence imposed on them which would carry two months for every previous conviction s/he has. This means that if a burglar was found guilty and also had 20 previous convictions, s/he would receive prison time of more than three years before being sentenced for the crime itself.
“Such legislation should give absolutely no power to the judiciary to avoid implementation,” Cllr Crowe said. “We currently have mandatory minimums for drug crimes but shockingly the judiciary only sees fit to apply the mandatory minimum sentence 20 per cent of the time.”
Cllr Crowe has contacted Fianna Fáil justice spokesperson Niall Collins on this issue with a view to bringing the proposal before Dáil Éireann.