Undercover officers continue to patrol the crime hotspots.
A GARDA TASK force designed to curb knife crime in the capital’s north inner city has turned its attention to two groups of warring teenagers who officers believe are responsible for a significant amount of the area’s anti-social behaviour.
Since the start of this year, there has been a significant upsurge in the number of anti-social incidents involving minors from the Sheriff Street area of the northside across to Pearse Street on the southside.
The violence is not solely the work of teenagers. The age range of people involved in this current local feud ranges from 14 – 60 years of age.
The row between the two groups centres on the local drug trade. Sources have told The Journal that the people involved in this feud “can’t get much lower on the food chain” in the drugs economy.
The local feud, which has been bubbling away for nearly a year, boiled over last November after a man was set upon with a hatchet in the Windmill Lane area of Dublin 2.
A video of that incident was shared online and quickly went viral.
There were several retaliatory attacks as a result of the video being shared. Homes were damaged as well as cars belonging to people on either side.
These tit-for-tat attacks continued into the New Year.
However, it was the death of a 16-year-old boy in the East Wall area of Dublin, along with two other high profile knife attacks which resulted in gardaí setting up this anti-knife task force.
Last month a man received injured following an attack on the Samuel Beckett Bridge in the capital. Eyewitness footage from the scene showed youths charging at each other from opposite sides of the Samuel Beckett Bridge in the city centre at 7 pm last Monday evening.
Gardaí believe this was linked to the ongoing feud.
Members of the force, both uniformed and plainclothes, continue to carry out patrols in the north inner city. Searches have continued until now.
Despite the high media attention, Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for Dublin policing, Anne Marie Cagney, said that the stats do not show an epidemic of knife crime in Dublin. In fact, she said that the stats indicate the level of knife crime is decreasing.
It appears that while officers are dealing with pockets of anti-social behaviour, the suggestion that Dublin is in the wave of a serious knife problem is not accurate.
Assistant Commissioner Cagney has herself engaged in one-on-one meetings with people directly affected by knife crime in the city. This includes takeaway delivery cyclists who have been targeted by anti-social elements in the city.
A garda spokesman said: “Assistant Commissioner Anne Marie Cagney, Dublin Metropolitan Region advises that she is committed to ensuring that the citizens of Dublin City and County continue to be afforded a safe place to live and work and An Garda Síochána will take effective action in response to any instances involving assaults or anti-social behaviour.
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“A number of overt and covert operations utilising Garda personnel deployed to high visibility policing together with members attached to specialist units including Detective, Drug Unit, Task Force and Public Order Unit personnel are ongoing in the DMR.
“The objective of these operations are to target anti-social behaviour and crimes against the person.”
A new report on knife crime in Dublin was published in February of this year. It found: “While there is no strong evidence to suggest that there has been any increase in crimes incidents involving knives, the downward trend should not detract from the fact that there have been a number of very serious and fatal incidents in recent months as a result of knife assaults.”
Chair of Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee, Daithí De Róiste, commended gardaí for their “proactive approach to policing”.
“If you look at the stats you can see gardaí are conducting more searches in relation to knives. This proactive approach from gardaí has to be welcomed.
“I myself would call for a knife amnesty where people can hand in the blades into their local garda station and not face any repercussions. It worked well in London and can work well here.”