Increased crime in Longford/ Westmeath Garda division

Of the 85 murders and manslaughters recorded in the State during 2007, two were in the Garda division of Longford/ Westmeath. The two incidents represent an increase of two on the previous year, when no incidents of murder or manslaughter were recorded.

The figures came to light with the publication last Friday of the Garda Recorded Crime Statistics for 2007, which revealed that in most categories the number of criminal offences increased dramatically between 2006 and 2007.

Some 133 incidents of assault causing harm came to the attention of Gardai in the Longford/ Westmeath division in 2007. This represents a significant increase on the previous year when 107 incidents were recorded.

In the category of dangerous or negligent acts, 29 incidents of abandoning a child, child neglect, or cruelty were recorded in the local division in 2007, a huge jump from the 13 the previous year. At a national level, the number of offences in the same category rose by a massive 225 per cent over the period 2003-2007.

When it comes to driver arrests in Longford/ Westmeath, the report revealed that in 2007 there were three incidents of dangerous driving causing death, the same as in 2006, and three causing bodily harm. Some 713 incidents of driving a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit were recorded in this division in 2007, while this figure was almost doubled in the neighbouring Louth/ Meath division. The highest instance of deaths due to dangerous driving was also recorded in the neighbouring Louth/ Meath division.

Meanwhile 1,143 recorded incidents of dangerous or careless driving occurred in Longford/ Westmeath in 2007.

A total of nine rapes were recorded in Longford/ Westmeath in 2007, one of the lowest rates in the country and the same figure as the previous year. This contrasts with the higher figure of 24 recorded in each of a number of Dublin divisions and in the Donegal and Louth/ Meath divisions in the same year.

Bucking the overall trend of increased crime levels, the number of robberies decreased by more than 50 per cent from 2006 to 2007, falling from 26 to just 11 in Longford/ Westmeath. Indeed this trend was matched countrywide, with the total robberies recorded dropping from 1,105 to 814.

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