THE Kildare Garda Division recorded the fourth-highest number of burglaries and related offences in the first three months of the year, according to new data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
In Q1 2019, 296 such offences – which include aggravated burglary and the possession of articles with intent to burgle – were recorded in the county. That’s compared to 247 in Q1 2018, the seventh-highest at the time.
“Domestic burglary is a particularly invasive criminal offence, and one that can deprive citizens of their sense of security at home – the place where everyone should feel most safe,” the Department of Justice commented during the first EU-wide focus day on domestic burglary on 19 June.
Thefts and offences under that category also increased in Kildare between the two time periods, from 532 in the first three months last year to 610 in Q1 2019. The biggest jump relates to thefts from shops which rose by some 30% from 165 to 216.
Sexual offences, too, have risen. Q1 2019 saw 32 recorded offences compared to 20 in Q1 2018, and 25 of these were instances of rape and sexual assault.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan commented on the “grave concern” that remains at the increase in incidents of rape and sexual assault being reported to gardaí but welcomed the fact that more and more victims are coming forward and urged them to continue to do so. He noted that there are plans for Divisional Protective Service Units (DPSUs) – specialised units whose duties include improving services to victims and the investigation of sexual and domestic violence incidents – in all Garda divisions by the end of 2019.
“It’s clear that there is a considerable amount of work underway to address the societal attitudes to sexual abuse, to clamp down on any reoffending, and to encourage the continued early reporting of any incident of sexual abuse, violence or gender-based violence to An Garda Síochána,” the Minister said, referencing the major national ‘No Excuses’ awareness campaign launched in May.
Increases have also been flagged in Kildare with regard to threats of murder (9 to 16), possessing drugs for sale or supply (30 to 47), and driving or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs – which quadrupled from 10 to 40 offences.
However, it’s not all bad news – the CSO figures also record decreases when comparing Q1 2018 and 2019. The message on drink driving may be getting through as driving or being in charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit dropped from 97 to 74 cases. Instances of abandoning a child, child neglect and cruelty also decreased (10 to 2), while there were 152 criminal damage (not including arson) offences for Q1 2019 compared to 166 in Q1 2018.
Minister Flanagan also highlighted the work underway at present on delivering ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, the plan for implementing the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland report, and emphasised the importance of visible policing in communities.
“Garda management are currently developing a new model of community policing based on delivering localise policing services to meet the differing needs of different communities,” he said. “Most importantly, local front-line policing will be placed at the core of our police service, ensuring that gardaí are more active and visible in communities.”