AS new figures show that headline crimes are continuing to fall across Limerick, a senior garda has warned of an increase in petty crimes such as the theft of bicycles and mobile phones.
According to the latest Recorded Crime Offences statistics, which were published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) this week, the number of reported robberies, assaults and burglaries in the Limerick division fell during April, May and June compared to the same period in 2013.
Despite an increase nationally, there were no homicides in the Limerick division during the first six months of this year and the number of incidents of arson has also fell by 43% from 77 to 44.
There were just five reported incidents of firearms being discharged - a reduction from eight during the same period last year.
The number of sexual offences also fell marginally and as did the the number of kidnapping offences.
However, despite the decrease in headline crimes, the figures show there was a dramatic increase in the number of theft offences with an average of 11 incidents being reported to gardai every day during April, May and June.
There were 1,032 reported theft offences in Limerick during the three-month period representing an increase of more than 13% year-on-year.
An analysis of the figures shows that most categories of theft increased compared to 2013 with incidents of shoplifting alone, increasing by more than 36% to 327.
The figures represent a significant increase compared to the previous quarter when there were 905 reported theft offences.
Superintendent Dan Keane of Henry Street garda station says while the reduction in headline crimes across Limerick is welcome, the increase in thefts is a concern.
He is warning that a 70% increase theft of bikes in the the city is a particular worry as is a relatively new phenomenon of “fishing” which sees burglars stealing car keys or house keys from hall tables without entering the house.
“What’s happening is burglars are looking in through the front door of the house or they are looking in through the letterbox and they are physically seeing keys on top of the hall table and they are using some sort of a rod or improvised device and they are fishing the keys out and they are literally driving away with your car,” said Supt Keane who said there have been around 200 incident of so called ‘fishing’ across the country since the beginning of the years.
“We are all guilty of the fact that when we walk in to our house, there is probably a hall table there and we dump our car keys on the hall table. We would say to people to go a bit further and go into the kitchen or into the sitting room and put your keys into a drawer out of the way and out of sight,” he added.