Crime in the city last year was down 10 per cent with a total of 6,707 incidents detected, according to the latest Garda Report presented to members of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee.
Outlining the contents of the report, chief superintendent for the Galway Garda Division Tom Curley said that although the figures are good burglaries continue to be an issue and resources are continually being best utilised where most needed.
The report shows there were 433 incidents of burglaries detected between January 1 and December 31 2013 representing a five per cent reduction. Chief Supt Curley told members that gardai analyse the data which shows that there are certain spikes in the number of burglaries committed at certain times in the day, and that there are known groups operating in the city as well as coming from outside. “We have operations to counteract that, with each superintendent giving details on their top 10 criminals in relation to burglaries.
“In one week we could have 20 to 25 burglaries, usually smash and grabs. Some of the burglaries are organised while others are opportunistic. It’s amazing the amount of burglars who can just walk in the open back door. There is a particular spike in burglaries in housing estates during September when the students return. We are constantly advising students not to leave the windows open. We can’t do it alone. About 27 to 30 per cent of the detections is made possible due to community involvement. The gardai are keen to re-energise community initiatives such as the text alert scheme,” said Chief Supt Curley.
The report showed that thefts from a person during the same period increased 25 per cent to 138 incidents. Chief Supt Curley explained this increase represented the success in prosecuting such crimes which were mostly thefts of mobile phones. He added that there were organised gangs targeting people in night-clubs and on the streets and that gardai work with the management of premises to reduce this crime and bring about prosecutions. Other theft figures include: Thefts from a shop which came to 556, a reduction of one per cent; other thefts came to 345, a three per cent increase; and thefts from an MPV came to 146, a three per cent reduction.
The number of incidents of sale or supply of drugs last year came to 79, a detection increase of 27 per cent, while simple possession incidents came to 256, an increase of 26 per cent. There was also €176,180 worth of cannabis, €19,750 worth of heroin, €19,600 worth of cocaine, €5,149 of prescription drugs, €4,750 of ecstasy, and €3,000 worth of mephedrone seized in Galway city last year.
In response to concerns regarding manpower and resources, Chief Supt Curley assured members that the drug unit is at full strength and will continue to be so. However, he added that one area of concern was the increase in heroin use which usually results in an increase in general crime.
There were six road fatalities in the Galway/Salthill district while the number of drink driving prosecutions is going up, an increase of 37 per cent to 181 incidents. Chief Supt Curley added that warnings about the dangers of drink driving seem to be “falling on deaf ears”, with eight arrests made last weekend alone. During 2013 there were 4,282 mandatory alcohol test (MAT ) checkpoints (an increase of 46 per cent ) with 25,636 breath tests performed (an increase of 35 per cent ).
The number of public order offences came to 777, a reduction of 25 per cent. There were 67 assaults causing harm, a reduction of 29 per cent, while minor assaults came to 170, a reduction of 27 per cent. Domestic incidents such as breach of barring order, safety order, and protection order came to 33, an increase in detection of 65 per cent. The figures for the rape of a male or female showed there were 12 incidents, three of which were historical, while there were 35 incidents, 18 historical, of sexual assaults (not aggravated ).