NEARLY half of the incidents involving motorists found driving under the influence in Bandon in July of this year were drug-related.
Drug-driving is on the increase in West Cork, according to the Garda Supt Con Cadogan, who said of the 41 Bandon motorists found to be driving under the influence, 20 were drug-related.
Most of the crime statistics in West Cork are on a downwards trend, but the exceptions include drink and drug-driving, criminal damage, and public drunkenness.
Bandon-based Chief Supt Cadogan said there was a 39% decrease in shop-lifting after local crime prevention officers worked with local shop owners, business people, and sole traders, over the last two years, on how to improve their security measures.
However, the biggest increase over the two-year period, was driving under the influence, which increased from 160 detections in 2018 to about 240 in 2019.
The Chief Supt gave a snapshot of the changes in detection when he pointed out that 20 of the 41 people found driving under the influence in Bandon last July were drug-related.
Describing the increase as ‘significant,’ the chief superintendent said: ‘This is a worrying trend. When you look at the figures across the three garda divisions in Cork county, the rate is 33% for drug driving.’
The crime statistics showed that the ‘average monthly’ sexual assaults have gone from 3.8 in January 2018 to 2.5 in October of this year, whilst the monthly average in relation to the rape of a male or female dropped from 2.5 to 1 per month in October 2019.
Possession of drugs for sale or supply dropped from 49 to 41 this year, whilst possession of drugs for personal use dropped from 245 to 229.
Property crimes in West Cork are down over the same two-year period, from 490 to 435, while crimes against the person are down from 330 to 302.
The incidents of assault causing harm dropped by three to 61, while minor assaults dropped from 204 to 163.
A range of other crimes – namely burglaries, theft from a person and theft from a shop – are down, but bicycles theft increased from five in 2018 to 13 this year.
Gardaí have advised cyclists to lock their bikes in areas where there is CCTV.
There was also a rise in the number of thefts from a vehicle and Chief Supt Cadogan said: ‘This related to a spate of those in early Spring where 35 or 36 were broken into in Clonakilty – the majority of which had been left unlocked.’
Criminal damage – to cars, windows, flower planters etc – rose by 37 to 237, whilst public drunkenness increased from 174 to 190.
Chief Supt Cadogan said that this could be attributed to a pick-up in the economy and the rise in employment.