CRIME figures for both city and county were down in the final quarter of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, according to the latest Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) crime and traffic statistics.
At a recent meeting of the JPC in County Hall, Chief Supt Ger Dillane added that the number of drunkenness offences and material damage to cars were on the rise, compared to the same period in 2014.
Chief Supt Dillane attributed the drop in Public Order offences to the fact that people are now taking their friends home if they are drunk. However, he said the latest boom in the economy meant that people had more money to spend on drink, which has led to a rise in drunkenness offences.
The figures showed that theft from shops was down by 12% and the garda said that this may been due to a preventative strategy in some big stores. Theft from vehicles was down 36%; property crime was down 14%, while assaults causing harm were down 19% and minor assaults fell from 351 to 308.
Chief Supt Dillane also outlined the Theft Stop programme run by the IFA, which encourages farmers to mark and identify all their properties.
‘Theft Stop will go a long way to combatting farm thefts and I would encourage all farmers to do this,’ he said.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) asked what checks are in place to stop the stolen farming equipment being exported and added that it seems that whoever is exporting them has a ‘free flow going through ports’.
Chief Supt Tom Hayes of the West Cork Garda Division pointed out that only last month gardaí arrested a person with several stolen pieces of farm equipment.
The number of drivers detected for drink driving in the Cork, Kerry and Limerick areas was slightly up, with 1,425 detected for the final quarter of 2015, compared to 1,403 the previous year.
Chief Supt Dillane said that most people caught were in their forties and fifties and that it didn’t tend to be young people.
Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer welcomed the fall in crime, but was critical of the fact that some people still contemplate driving while under the influence of alcohol. Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said that ‘for once and for all, no one should be drink driving’. In light of the recent death of Millstreet teenager Alex Ryan from the N-bomb synthetic drug, Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) called for a graphic ad campaign to warn teenagers of the dangers of using these drugs.
Chief Supt Tom Hayes said that head shops were well policed by gardaí but that the synthetic drugs can be easily sourced through the internet.
Gavin Faulk, a member of the JPC, said that maybe it’s time that An Post or Customs officials scan all parcels coming into the country, similar to what happens in Australia.