Drink driving and burglary increase

“It absolutely beggars belief that we still have people getting into cars and driving while drunk,”

“It absolutely beggars belief that we still have people getting into cars and driving while drunk,”

Acting Chief Superintendent Michael Burns has warned drink drivers they will not be tolerated, as he reports a 46 per cent increase in the numbers prosecuted in Laois over the last six months, compared to the same period in 2011.

“These people are deciding they are going to chance it. We have to get the message across that it won’t work. The gardaí are targeting strongly all bad driving behaviours, and this is one of the worst offences. Drink driving is a no-no,” he told members of Laois County Council at last Monday’s Joint Policing Meeting in County hall.

Chief Supt Burns also reported an increase in public order offences this year, up eleven per cent, with 17 crimes. However 97 per cent of these were detected.

“It is not that Laois is becoming violent, but we have a much higher detection rate. It is incumbent on me to ensure the streets of our towns are safe for people,” he said.

The Kildare based Chief Super says the increase proves people are still spending money, despite the economy.

“A lot of public order offences are social, happening at night time. They tell us money is not available, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, with the increase in public order offences,” he said.

The number of burglaries has dramatically increased, at 43 per cent more than last year.

“This is a considerable increase, however since the introduction of Operation Obair in April, there has been an improvement in the last couple of months,” he reported.

Theft from shops was down by 19 per cent, but theft from vehicles was up 11 per cent. Theft from other places such as scrap metal, heating oil and beer kegs has risen by 24 per cent.

Possession of drugs for personal use went up by a quarter, and possession for supply up by 17 per cent.

There was some positive news, with a 68 per cent decline in theft from cars, a 50 per cent drop in aggravated burglary, and overall a decrease in crime by 11 per cent.

The Chief Super explained that Operation Obair is an initiative that tracks active or past criminals, as well as “mobile criminals” who drive off and back on to the motorways.

“90 per cent of Operation Obair is targeted with certain people in mind. Gardaí are now working ten hour shifts as opposed to eight. It’s not alone about deterring crime and educating communities, but resulting in a considerable increase in detections,” he said.