LAOIS-OFFALY last year suffered one of the sharpest rises in burglaries in the State, according to the latest crime figures.
Garda statistics reveal that the region is second only to Meath as being the worst effected by house break-ins in 2011, with a figure of 974 representing a staggering 32% increase from the number recorded in 2010. This reflects the national picture which shows an increase in burglaries in 20 of the 28 garda divisions examined, with Meath experiencing the biggest rise of 40% up to 1,212 incidents, while Galway reported a drop of 15% down to 939.
It is believed that the increase in Laois-Offaly, Meath and Kildare (+26%) indicates a high proliferation of criminals travelling to these areas from Dublin, as the rapid growth of the capital in recent years has made these commuter counties virtual suburbs of Dublin and ripe pickings for thieves. As burglaries went up in Dublin over the last few years, gardaí believe the surrounding counties are now catching up to these high levels of crime.
The figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that, while burglaries are up, there has been an overall reduction in crime since the State entered its recessionary slump. The increase in house break-ins is seen by gardaí as an attempt by criminals to make easy money during these straitened times, with cash, gold and jewellery the main targets of thieves.