Crime surge

Crime dropped in Laois last year but there has been a huge rise in burglaries in the south of the county.

Crime dropped in Laois last year but there has been a huge rise in burglaries in the south of the county.

Annual figures published by Chief Superintendent Frank Moore last week showed that reported incidents of crime have dropped by 12 per cent.

In the area covered by Abbeyleix Gardai, crime is down three per cent while areas under Portlaoise gardai it is down 14 per cent. However, burglary showed a dramatic increase.

In south Laois burglaries increased by 146 per cent compared to a rise in of two per cent around Portlaoise, although the over all figure runs to 600 in the Portlaoise area. Responding to the figures Cllr Brendan Phelan said burglary in Laois is an everyday crime

“We are coming across it every day. It is one of the major complaints that we receive in the community. People are afraid to leave their home,” he told the Laois Joint Policing Committee.

Cllr Phelan said it has got to a stage where people are changing their Mass times.

“I know an elderly couple who used to go to Mass together on Sunday, one of them now goes and the other stays home and gets a different Mass,” he said.

Cllr Tom Mulhall said all communities in Laois seem to have been affected by burglary but communities had replied through a resurgence in community alert.

Other Garda figures show that robberies from clubs and other establishments went up by 58 per cent with 19 incidents reported. Portlaoise gardai dealt with seven more of such crimes.

Reported thefts increased in the Abbeyleix district by ten per cent but this was balanced by a fall in the Portlaoise district.

Shop thefts were down by 35 or 11 per cent while thefts from a person were down by six crimes or a quarter. Vehicle thefts were down by 12 per cent or 23 incidents.

Other types of thefts such as home heating oil, copper piping, farm gates were down by five. Aggravated crime involving the use of a weapon is up 60 per cent with eight incidents reported.

Public order was down by a quarter last year. Abbeyleix garda district had 16 per cent less of such incidents while in the Portlaoise district saw a drop of 28 percent.

Assault causing harm is unchanged with 39 incidents reported while minor assault was also unchanged.

Criminal damage cause by fire, such as arson, increased by 29 per cent or ten incidents. Some were houses but it also includes rubbish bins.

Criminal damage was up 31 per cent. Detection of drugs for sale of supply was up by almost a quarter while the number of possession offences dropped by 18 per cent.

On road traffic gardai reported just one death on Laois roads compared to five in 2010. There were six serious injury collisions compared to nine in 2010.

Arrests for drunk driving are down by nine per cent or 13 incidents compared to the previous year.