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Community involvement is key in tackling local crime, says new CPO

May 31st, 2019 11:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

Sgt James O'Donovan says it's all about being ‘one step ahead' of the criminals. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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Rathbarry native Gda Sgt James O’Donovan is settling into his role as West Cork’s new crime prevention officer and introducing himself to community groups throughout the division, writes Kieran O’Mahony

THE newly-appointed crime prevention officer (CPO) for West Cork gardaí says rural crime can be tackled through strong community engagement.

Rathbarry native Sgt James O’Donovan   –  who took up his new position at the divisional headquarters in Bandon at the end of April – is settling into his new role and introducing himself to community groups throughout the division.

No stranger to those living in the Schull area, James served as sergeant-in-charge there since 2014 and he previously worked in the area of community policing.

‘I want to continue in the same vein as my predecessor, Ian O’Callaghan, from the point of view of preventing crime occurring in in the Cork West Division through community engagement and crime prevention advice,’ Sgt O’Donovan told The Southern Star.

‘We’re very lucky in West Cork to have a great relationship with the community that we serve. With crime down nationally, and within the division, I think it’s in direct correlation to the work being done by community alert groups and other community groups that we engage with, and also the work we do with the local media like The Southern Star. It’s about creating awareness and maintaining that awareness in relation to crime prevention across the Cork West Division.’

Sgt O’Donovan’s main aim is to create and maintain a ‘crime prevention approach’ by all people in relation to their own property. And with the summer season fast approaching, he said it’s not the time to become complacent.

‘Our obvious target is to maintain that awareness and remind people to secure their homes when leaving. We are also promoting in tourist spots especially – through community alert signs – about the dangers of leaving property in cars or leaving them unlocked. People need to get into that mindset to lock their cars and remove all property at all times,’ Sgt O’Donovan added.

It’s about being one step ahead of the criminals at all times with fraud calls, online scams and bogus sellers becoming all the more prevalent, he said.

‘These fraud calls  are changing tack on a weekly basis. The best advice is hang up the phone and ring the local gardaí immediately.’

Sgt O’Donovan said he wanted to thank the people of West Cork for all their assistance in the past and he looks forward to working with them in the future. ‘Without their assistance, our job would be much harder.’

Sgt O’Donovan will be meeting community alert groups across the Division over the next couple of months or he can be contacted at Bandon Garda Station at 023-8852261 or by emailing him at [email protected]

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