Lough Ennell.

New lake and riverside Garda operation in Westmeath

Gardai in Westmeath have launched a new high visibility patrol around the lakes and rivers in the county, including a number of key Athlone area locations.

The new initiative, Operation Coinním, will run throughout July and August 2023 and will involve what Gardai have described as “high visibility beat/mobile patrolling schedule” around the lakes and rivers of Westmeath.

The operation will focus on enhancing public safety and addressing anti social behaviour, engage with the public and provide crime prevention advice, and prevent seasonal increases in crime associated with recreation areas in the summer including property crime, thefts from vehicles, criminal damage and public order offences

Gardai will be liaising with local councils on the patrolling strategies, crime prevention initiatives, signage and traffic management plans in the seasonal tourist, recreational hotspots and lakesides.

The following locations are areas that will see increased patrols by Gardai: Hodson Bay; River Shannon, Athlone Town; Coosan Point, Athlone; Portlick, Glasson; Lough Ennell at Lilliput in Castletown Geoghegan; Lough Ennell Mullingar; Lough Owel Mullingar

Gardaí are advising motorists to secure their vehicles when parking in unattended carparks in lakeside and scenic locations, as thousands of euro worth of property are stolen from cars each year.

Around 60% of vehicle break-ins at locations associated with outdoor activities happen between April and September. While these thefts can occur at any time the majority occur on weekends between 2pm and 7pm.

Gardai are advising people to never leave items like handbags, jackets, wallets, laptops, and shopping on view in the vehicle.

They also recommend leaving an empty glove box open, showing would be criminals that there is nothing for them to steal.