The rate of burglaries, theft and criminal damage in Wexford have gone down while possession, sale and cultivation of drugs are on the rise according to new crime figures for the county.
The figures, which were announced at the recent Joint Policing Committee Meeting, include all incidents recorded in Wexford from January 1 until September 5 of this year.
Possession of drugs for personal consumption saw a 60 per cent jump compared to the same period last year, rising from 118 in 2015 to 189. Possession for sale and supply also rose by 40 per cent, with 37 recorded incidents last year compared to 52 this year. Meanwhile, cultivation of drugs saw a 275 per cent increase, with 15 recorded cases this year compared to three in 2015.
Property crime reduced by 31 per cent compared to this time last year, dropping from 1874 to 1292. Burglaries dropped by 53 per cent, from 702 to 330.
Chief Superintendent John Roche welcomed the 22 per cent reduction in car theft, saying that this is a crime that usually spikes during the summer months. The figures show 147 cases this year, compared to 189 last year.
Meanwhile, shop theft dropped by one per cent, from 335 cases to 331. Other incidents of theft dropped by 31 per cent, from 507 to 356. Criminal damage saw a reduction of 20 per cent, with figures showing 445 incidents this year compared to 555 last year.
Public order offences have increased by 11 per cent, with 359 cases this year compared to 325 in the same period last year. Supt Roche said that this may be down to an improvement in the economy and subsequent increase in the number of people out socialising. Crimes against the person fell by 2 per cent, from 298 to 289 this year.
Figures for road traffic crimes showed incidents that have occurred between January and July. During this period, there were two fatalities on Wexford roads compared to three in the same period last year. Mobile phone usage while driving has increased by 2 per cent, from 631 to 652. The number of people caught not wearing a seatbelt has increased by 17 per cent, with 347 cases this year compared to 296 in the same period in 2015. Intercepted speeding incidents have risen by 42 per cent from 672 to 471, while non-intercepted speeding crimes dropped by 28 per cent from 3430 last year compared with 2421.
Supt Roche said that he was glad to report the overall fall in crime. He credited their anti-crime initiative for the reduction, saying that it incorporates four pillars to tackle crime.
‘The divisional crime task force have done intensive work with ten hour shifts and analysed when burglaries were happening. We have rotated them every few months,’ he explained, saying that the biggest reduction in these crimes has been seen in Gorey and Riverchapel.
Supt Roche said that the second pillar involved reducing the fear of crime in communities.
‘There is a perception that crime is increasing but the figures tell a different story.’
Making roads difficult for criminals to use is another of the pillars, and Supt Roche said that the Gardaí know every make, colour and reg of criminals in the county. He said that, with the majority of criminals not taxing and insuring their car, the Gardaí are able to seize an average of 50 cars a month under the Road Traffic Act.
Drug enforcement is the fourth area that Supt Roche said they are working on.
Cllr Ger Carthy welcomed the reduction in crime but asked whether the reduction was due to the fact that some criminals here in prison or because of an increase in policing in the county. Supt Roche said that it is a combination of both.
‘We work closely with the judicial system,’ he added. ‘We rely heavily on the curfew system with the help of judiciaries.’
(First published in the Gorey Guardian newspaper: print edition. Also available online at: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/goreyguardian/news/new-figures-show-an-overall-drop-in-crime-in-wexford-but-drugs-are-still-on-the-rise-35042985.html)