‘Friendly’ night patrols by Tallaght residents help with security

By Mary Dennehy

RESIDENTS in one Tallaght estate have united in an attempt to build community spirit, a sense of security and a response to crime in their area, with “friendly” nightly patrols by volunteers putting a stop to anti-social behaviour.

Residents in The Belfry in Citywest, which has 504 houses and duplexes – and that’s not including the apartments – last year established a six-man residents’ committee, and a community Facebook page, which currently has nearly 300 members.

Belfry Estate 13042017

According to committee member Nickola Boyle the movement grew from a need to connect families and individuals living across the estate, which, like many newer communities, was missing interaction between neighbours.

According to Nickola, since that connection has been made, The Belfry has grown into a thriving community full of community spirit and new friendships – which has led onto the creation of regular nightly patrols.

Nickola told The Echo: “The patrols are carried out by a minimum of four residents who wear hi-viz jackets and it’s not a scary presence in the estate, it’s a friendly, social presence.

“It’s bodies on the streets and it does act as a deterrent.”

She added: “Before the patrols, there were sheds and cars getting broken into a few times a week but now when the patrols are on there are no incidents . . . which is huge.

“I would really encourage other areas to think about setting up something like we have.

“We work alongside the gardai and only last Sunday, a gang of young people that don’t live in the estate were spotted hiding outside a house.

“The gardai were called and the lads fled the area, so having everyone aware and looking out for each other really can help prevent crime.”

Raising two children in the area, Nickola believes that estates need to go back to basics and remove the fear out of knowing your neighbours.

“Before the community came together, I, like many others, felt isolated. All of the neighbours were like passing ships in the night, we’d give each other a wave, but that was about it.

“However, now the place is thriving and I’ve made new friends and people are organising meet-ups outside of the group.

“I love what this estate has become, everyone has invested so much into it and we’re looking forward to organising more events for the whole estate, like street parties and clean-ups.”

A spokesman for Tallaght Garda Station encouraged any communities that would like to establish a neighbourhood watch, residents’ association or simply gather some crime prevention advice to call the community section on 6666020.

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