THE SUPERINTENDENT of the Newcastle West Garda District has urged the local community to continue to support for policing in their area, after the publication of figures showing that crime is generally down over the first nine months of this year.
Breifing members of Limerick County Council, Supt Daniel Flavin said that while the crime statistics for the year up to September 1 were broadly positive, there had still been a number of “concerning” increases in offences such as shootings and assaults.
This year has so far seen a fall in the amount of burglaries, thefts, assaults causing harm and incidents of domestic violence.
However, there has been an increase in incidences of arson, public order offences and minor assaults. A clamp down on the local drugs trade has seen incidences of possession of drugs for sale or supply increase by more than 100 per cent.
Total assaults were up 17 per cent to 56 from 48 over the same period last year. However, Supt Flavin cautioned that this is not a year-on-year rise as such, as many of these assaults relate to a 27-year-old sexual assault case involving four injured parties, which has only recently been reported and is currently under investigation.
An increase in the number of sexual assaults, up from two to four, was similarly attributable to this case, Supt Flavin added.
Minor assaults are up 24 per cent to 46 from 37, but serious assaults are down by nine per cent.
This year also saw a rise in the number of complaints of harassment, from four to seven, in particular incidences of so-called ‘cyber bullying’ involving local children and social media websites, such as Facebook.
Total burglaries in the Newcastle West area are down one to 66 from 67, while thefts from shops are down to 36 from 39. Supt Flavin praised the efforts of local shopkeepers for helping the gardai reach a detection rate of 73 per cent for these thefts, thanks to the use of CCTV and other means.
Car thefts in the area are down 19 per cent from 26 to 21, a drop which Supt Flavin attributed in part to the setting up of a permanent traffic corps unit in the district.