COVID-19 restrictions and rolling lockdowns have led to a decline in crime figures across all three Cork garda divisions for last year, but there’s been an increase in drug driving and drug possession for sale or supply.
At a recent online meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) Chief Supt Barry McPolin of Cork city said that there had been a significant decline in theft, burglary and assault reports and said the decreases in some crimes is indicative of travel restrictions.
‘Not only does it inconvenience members of the public but also those involved in criminality,’ said Chief Supt McPolin.
Out of the three divisions, Cork West recorded the lowest for crime incidents associated with Covid-19 with 70 recorded for last year, compared to 133 in Cork North and 109 in Cork city.
Cork West was also the lowest for Covid-19 under the Health Act incidents, with just 34 reported, compared to 45 for Cork North and 80 for Cork city.
Chief Supt McPolin said most of these incidents were related to people attending house parties, checkpoints, inspections of retail premises and people not having negative PCR tests at airports.
In the Cork West Division, property crime and crimes against the person were down.
However, there was an increase in the theft or unauthorised taking of a vehicle from 23 to 25, theft from shops also increased from 99 to 104 and the theft of bikes was also up from 14 to 20 but burglary, theft from vehicles and theft from other properties were down on the previous year.
The Cork West Division also recorded a decline in assaults causing harm, from 70 to 56 and also in minor assaults from 207 to 176 which Chief Supt McPolin attributed to the reduced levels of socialising in communities, with pubs and nightclubs closed due to Covid-19.
Public order offences and criminal damage were down in this division, while drunkenness was down from 202 to 135 and driving while intoxicated was down from 258 to 214.
However, the numbers of those arrested for drug driving was up in the Cork West area with 94 arrests, compared to 67 arrests for the previous year.
There were 96 arrests last year for those caught with drugs for sale compared to 57 for 2019 and the numbers for personal use were down in Cork West from 262 to 229, the only division of the three to record a decline.