Drugs still a problem, admits Chief Supt

BURGLARIES and drug dealing have gone down across the county for the last quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, although senior gardaí say that drugs are still a problem in the Midlands.

BURGLARIES and drug dealing have gone down across the county for the last quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, although senior gardaí say that drugs are still a problem in the Midlands.

The figures were revealed by Chief Superintendant John Scanlon at this week’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in County Hall.

Crimes against the person are down 38%, from 99 in 2011 to 72 last year. However, this figure is based on a 1650% decrease in rapes, which dropped from 35 in 2011 to two last year.

Chief Supt John Scanlon was quick to tell the meeting that this figure of 35 in 2011 was due to one accused with multiple victims. Putting aside the rape figure, assaults have increased, with ten assaults causing harm (up from nine in 2011), and 47 minor assaults (up from 45).

Sexual assaults have risen from three in the last quarter of 2011 to nine last year.

Criminal damage is up, from 108 in 2011 to 115 last year, while public order offences have taken a slight drop from 82 to 74.

In relation to drugs, which Chief Supt Scanlon said will remain a problem for the Midlands, cultivation has increased from one incident in 2011 to three last year. Possession of drugs for sale or supply has decreased by 100% (down from 28 to 14), although simple possession has gone up from 23 to 28.

“We’re putting our heads in the sand if we don’t acknowledge that we have a problem,” he said.

However, Chief Supt Scanlon told the meeting that the figures for both drugs and assaults have been affected by the presence of the prisons in Laois, with a percentage of these crimes committed not by people from the county but by “creatures of a prison environment”.

Traffic offences have gone up, from 172 in 2011 to 181 last year. Drink driving has dropped, however, down to 21 from 33.

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.