The latest crime figures reveal that there has been a slight rise over the past 12 months in the number of arrests in Laois, but the new superintendent in the region attributes this to an increased garda presence on the county’s streets and roads.
At this week’s Joint Policing Committee meeting in Laois County Hall, crime statistics revealed that the total number of arrests has gone up from 665 in the second quarter of 2016 to a total of 681 in the second quarter of 2017.
Overall, drugs and weapons offences rose by close to 90 percent from the second quarter of 2016 to the same period this year, up from 46 to 87. Arrests for drug dealing rose by 90.5 percent, up from 21 to 40, while simple possession went up 100 percent, from 18 to 36.
Superintendent Anthony Pettit attributed this increase to the work of the dedicated drug unit, and a recent clean streets operation in which 40 drug dealers were arrested.
Traffic offences are up over 50 percent from the second quarter of 2016 to the same period this year, from 103 to 155. Drink driving is up 272.7 percent, from eleven to 41.
Again, Supt Pettit said that increased garda presence accounted for the rise in drink driving figures, with increased garda activity on the roads and more checkpoints.
Crime against the person is up 32.7 percent, from 52 in the second quarter of last year to 69 this year. Assault causing harm is up from eight to 14 (a 75 percent increase) and minor assaults are up from 38 to 54 (an increase of 42 percent).
Supt Pettit said that the assault figures for the region are complicated due to the presence of the prison, with a certain percentage of assaults happening there.
Property crime has dropped by 27 percent, from a total of 303 crimes in the second quarter of 2016 to 220 in the second quarter of this year.
And criminal damage and public order offences are down by almost seven percent from the second quarter of 2016 to the same period this year, from 161 to 150.