Public urged to ‘help themselves’ in tackling crime

ROBBERIES are down across the county, according to figures released at this week’s Joint Policing Committee meeting in County Hall, although house break-ins remain a major concern for local gardaí.

ROBBERIES are down across the county, according to figures released at this week’s Joint Policing Committee meeting in County Hall, although house break-ins remain a major concern for local gardaí.

At yesterday’s (Monday) meeting, Chief Superintendent John Scanlon gave a report on the crime statistics for the last quarter of 2012, along with comparative figures for the same period in 2011.

The total number of robberies committed in Laois over this three month period was 379, which represents a 6% decrease from the 2011 figure of 402. Of the 379, 122 were burglaries, which is 47% down on the 2011 figure of 179. Theft from vehicles has gone up, from 36 to 55 (an increase of 35%), while theft from the person remains the same for both years at just four. Thefts from shops has also dropped from 51 to 39 (-31%).

Alarmingly, while the robbery statistics are down overall, the possession of an article in the course of a robbery has increased by 60%, up two in 2011 to five last year.

Commenting on the figures, Cllr John King said there was a big problem with thieves targeting empty homes during funerals. He said that he knew of three houses being raided for copper piping a month ago, with the crime only discovered the morning after when passers by saw water flowing out of the front door.

Chief Supt Scanlon suggested that communities should notify the gardaí if a funeral is taking place, so that the gardaí can maintain a passing presence in the area. He also recommended that people leave a light on when away from home.

“It’s important we don’t engender too much fear in a community,” said the chief superintendant. “There is help there, but we ask people to help themselves.”

He also asked for the public to keep an eye out for people who steel copper from houses.

“There’s not a lot of houses being built at the minute, so if you see a fellow driving along with a load of steel cylinders, we need to hear about him,” said Chief Supt Scanlon.