Big drop in crime figures for January 2016
THere was a marked reduction in most crimes across Wexford during the month of January.
At the Joint Policing Committee last week Superintendent John Roche said that burglaries in the Wexford district had reduced by a whopping 51 per cent in January 2016 compared to January 2015. He said that this year there were a total of 80 reported burglaries compared to 172 for the same period in 2015.
Robberies had a similar decline dropping by 50 per cent from four to two. He said both of these robberies, one from a petrol station in Ferns and one from a commercial business had been detected by gardai and the cases are due before the court.
Superintendent Roche said 'there were a lot of burglaries and robberies last year and the gardai were under pressure'. However, he said that increased patrols particularly in areas where a number of burglaries were being reported was proving very effective.
'It's good news at the moment', he said. 'It's been a lot of hard work to keep it that low'.
Thefts from cars were also down dropping by 31 per cent from 29 to 20 while thefts from shops were down 27 per cent, down to 40 compared to 57 in January 2015.
Other thefts more than halved dropping by 53 per cent from 96 incidents in January 2015 to 45 in January of this year. Superintendent Roche said this year's figure would be lower except for the fact that 'one night a lad went berserk and broke into eight cars'.
Drug detections increased with the number of simple possession detections increasing from 22 to 32 while the number of detections for possession of drugs for sale or supply also increased to seven. Superintendent Roche said that in January of this year gardai seized €30,000 worth of drugs across the district with drugs being seized in Wexford town, Castlebridge, Enniscorthy and Gorey.
Assaults also saw a decrease in numbers dropping from 33 to 30, a drop of nine per cent while the number of people detected for drink driving increased by eight per cent from 18 to 26.
However he said that it wasn't ass good news as public order offences rose from 23 offences in January 2015 to 38 in January of this year. He said that this is linked to the improvement in the night time economy.
The number of people killed on the roads in Wexford also saw an increase rising from one person in January 2015 to two people in January 2016.
Cllr George Lawlor said there had been a spate of burglaries recently and wonder if all the scenes had been technically examined by gardai to see if there were any links to a recent citizen's arrest.
Cllr Fergie Kehoe said drugs is obviously a concern although he welcomed the increase in detection. Senator Jim Walsh said it was good to see that a concerted effort by gardai to bring down the number of burglaries seemed to be working. However he wondered how many of the burglaries from last year had been solved and the culprits brought to justice.
Cllr Davy Hynes said the person that had been arrested in the citizen's arrest 'appears to have been involved in a lot of offences' and spoke about the problem of people on bail from the courts repeatedly re-offending.
Superintendent Roche said that all burglaries scenes are technically examined unless the owner doesn't want it carried out or there is a delay in reporting the crime.
In response to Senator Walsh he said that the detection rate for area was between 12 and 17 per cent. 'I'd like it to be higher but it's not', he said. He said that the recently beefed up drugs unit was proving effective and said that those involved in the sale and supply of drugs were also involved in other crimes. 'They are not just pushing drugs but are probably addicts themselves and committing crimes to keepd their habit.'
Community representative Declan Dunbar wondered what the working hours of drugs unit was and Superintendent Roche said that they were flexible. 'They take their days off like other gardai but their hours are very flexible.
Cllr Jim Moore said that the mix of offences shows the challenges the gardai are facing. He wondered if the number of vacant houses in the county was a problem for gardai and wondered if there was any way that access routes could be patrolled to prevent burglaries in these areas.
Superintendent Roche said that there were a total of 68,000 dwellings in Wexford, 14,500 of which were vacant during the winter months. 'These prove a carrot to burglars. Nearly 21 per cent of the houses in the county are vacant outside of the summer months.'
He said that the gardai were in a position to work with planners but said they rarely get consulted in the pre-planning stage.