There are “grave concerns” about the number of boy racers driving dangerously on the motorway and secondary roads, chief superintendent Tom Curley told a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee, adding that the four fatal road deaths so far this year were four too many.
Outlining the details of the Garda report, Chief Supt Curley said that overall the crime figures for the city for the period January 1 to June 30, 2013 is good and considering crime levels tend to up in times of austerity Galway city was bucking the trend. The number of incidents for the city district reached 3,007 representing a decrease of 23 per cent figures for the same period last year.
However, with four fatal road traffic accidents recorded Chief Supt Curley told committee members that there were concerns, particularly in relation to boy racers on the M6 and secondary roads, but that gardai will not tolerate it and have been “upping our game”.
Sympathising with the families of the four killed on the roads, city councillor Frank Fahy described how some of the driving he has witnessed on the motorway has been “atrocious”. “I’ve seen young people doing doughnuts. People are changing lanes without indicating and whizzing past at over 120mph. People are hogging the outside lane forcing others to undertake. I’ve only ever seen one garda there. It’s only a matter of time before we have a major tragedy,” said Cllr Fahy.
Chief Supt Curley responded that dangerous driving on motorways was an issue that concerned him and that he hopes to have more high visibility and monitoring. He added that gardai are currently looking at various issues, including health and safety implications, for having patrol cars in designated areas.
The Garda report contained a number of other crime statistics for the city including 76 incidents of drink driving, representing no change from figures for the same period last year. A total of 1,513 Mandatory Alcohol Test (MAT ) checkpoints were held (a decrease of seven per cent year-to-date ) with 8,693 breath tests performed (a decrease of 20 per cent year-to-date ).
Burglaries up until June 30 reached 167 - a 19 per cent decrease. There has been 56 incidents of a theft from a person (increase of 56 per cent ), 307 incidents of thefts from a shop (increase of nine per cent ), 73 incidents of thefts from an MPV (decrease of 13 per cent ), and 166 incidents of other thefts (decrease of 20 per cent ).
Referring to the theft figures, Chief Supt Curley explained there are many incidents of people coming in from other areas of the country and “blitzing the city”. He said that thefts from MPV is seasonal and there are increases during fine weather with culprits targeting playing pitches, churches, and seaside areas.
In relation to drugs the incidents of sale and supply reached 43, an increase of five percent on last year’s figures, and 112 incidents of simple possession, a decrease of 12 per cent. Cannabis to the total value of €51,130 was seized this year up to June 30 while €11,400 of cocaine, €3,360 of Ecstasy, and €6,350 of heroin was also seized.
The report also revealed how there were 433 public order incidents (representing a drop of 20 per cent ), 25 incidents of assault causing harm (a decrease of 46 per cent ), and 77 incidents of minor assaults (a decrease of 36 per cent ). A total of nine domestic incidents (breach of a barring order, safety order, or protection order ) representing an increase of 50 per cent on last year’s figures.
There were eight incidents of rape of a male or female representing an increase of 60 per cent, however, Chief Supt Curley stressed that many of these cases are historical. The same explanation was given for the eight per cent increase in sexual assaults (not aggravated ) with 13 incidents reported and investigated.