150 per cent rise in robberies from shops across the county
CHIEF Supt John Roche said there was a 150 per cent increase in robberies from shops last year.
Eight robberies occurred in 2013 compared to 20 in 2014, Supt Roche said as he outlined the crime figures for 2014 compared to 2013.
16 people were robbed, up four from 2013. Drug offences were also up. 195 people were arrested for possession of drugs, up from 183 in 2013, while 195 people were arrested for cultivation of drugs, up 12 on the previous year.
Cllr Davy Hynes said the Methadone Clinic in Wexford has helped to alleviate the hard drug culture problem in the county, while criticising the cuts in funding for drug rehabilitation treatment.
Cllr Anthony Kelly said the heroin problem in Wexford has grown in recent times.
Supt Roche said burglaries are driving crime in Wexford, adding that there is a 20 per cent increase in burglary offences for January and February 2015.
Comparing 2014 to 2013, he said burglaries are down from 1,099 to 977.
There were 11 aggravated burglaries in 2014 compared to eight in 2013, while theft from shops were down from 536 last year to 518 in 2013. Most of these thefts were from multiples and shops in the county's larger towns.
Supt Roche said most of the burglaries occur between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., adding that Garda numbers vary depending on the time of day.
Thefts from cars remined on a par with 2013 at 258, while thefts from the person were up from 33 in 2013 to 29 last year.
Theft other (i.e. from outside properties) was down from 711 in 2013 to 623 in 2014.
Public order offences fell from 855 in 2013 to 603 last year.
'They have halved since 2010. We would attribute this to a slowdown in the night time economy. It has picked up over the past few months but a lot of assaults are now taking place in the home or in estates.'
Supt Roche said the high volume of holiday homes and unoccupied homes makes it easier for burglars.
'Over 20 per cent of our dwellings are unoccupied eight to nine months of the year. There is an estate in Rosslare where one house is occupied and the other 99 aren't. These houses are an easy target.'
He said the thefts are drug fuelled and often drug users are targeting residents close to where they are living.
'It's the same with the retail premises, thefts from shops and robberies. It's transient drug users who are renting temporary accommodation. We're so close to Dublin; we have a lot of travelling criminals. 60 per cent of our houses are burgled while the house is either permanently vacated or in estates were houses are unoccupied.'
Often elderly people are targeted by burglars impersonating Irish Water workers or by people asking for a glass of water.
Cash, laptops, jewellery and TV's are the main loot.
Supt Roche said unless burglars are caught at the scene with proceeds from the crime they often get away with the crime.
'These crimes are very difficult to detect as they are very forensically aware.
'It's a smash and grab and they are in the house for less than a minute.'
He said there is a 15-18 per cent success rate in catching burglars.