By Kieran O’Mahony
GARDA crime stats are showing an increase in property crime, thefts from vehicles as well as increases in drinking offences, assaults causing harm and minor assaults.
The latest figures for the period from January to August of this year, across the three divisions of Cork City, Cork North and Cork West, were outlined by Chief Supt Barry McPolin at a recent meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JCP) in County Hall in Cork city.
The figures showed that assaults causing harm and minor assaults were both on the increase, with assaults causing harm up 50 from the same period last year, while minor assaults also rose, from 885 to 995, in the period.
There was also a noticeable increase in offences related to people being drunk, with 1,113 incidents for this year compared to 997 for the same period last year. However, public order offences were down by 104 for the eight months.
Chief Supt McPolin attributed the increases in assaults to the fact that levels of drunkenness had increased.
‘The increase in the level of drug-taking and drunkenness means that it can influence people’s decisions, which are leading to more assaults,’ said Supt McPolin.
There was also a notable increase in thefts from vehicles, with 651 incidents for this year compared to 546 for the same period last year.
‘Over the past eight or nine months we have had a number of juveniles, primarily under the age of 18 who are based in Cork city, going out further into Cork West and Cork North, taking cars and taking items from cars if they are unlocked.’
‘The message has to get out there again that people have to be mindful that crime prevention is the best bet and lock your cars and make sure you secure your property.’
Supt McPolin said that they have been successful in identifying those criminals, with some already serving sentences, while others are awaiting court appearances.
There was an increase in property crime from 4,166 last year to 4,183 for the same period this year, while crimes against the person were also up by 224 – from 1,608 last year to 1,832.
Chief Supt McPolin attributed a fall in theft from shops to the fact that officers have been visiting these premises and advising business owners about crime prevention.
‘We have also been targeting known offenders involved in this type of criminality and a number of people are before the courts,’ said Chief Supt McPolin.
Other Garda stats showed that criminal damage was up from 1,089 for last year to 1,254 for this year, while both burglary and theft of vehicles were down for this year.
Cllr Cathal Rasmussen (Lab) was elected chair of the JPC and Bandon-based Fianna Fáil councillor Séan O’Donovan was elected vice chair.