ADVICE Supt Denis Harrington.
Meeting hears fraud has increased massively
Gardaí are working harder than ever to combat criminal activities in Mayo, but the entire community needs to be extremely vigilant and look out for one another. That was the message delivered at Friday’s Joint Policing Committee meeting in Castlebar when Superintendent Denis Harrington outlined crime figures for 2022.
He compared the figures with last year and also included numbers from 2019, the most recent year when Covid wasn’t a factor. He warned that crime levels were heading back towards pre-Covid levels and that fraud had increased massively in recent years.
“Criminals turned to fraud when they were restricted by lockdowns and the numbers bear that out. There were 684 incidents in 2021 compared to 214 in 2019. Thankfully, people are heeding advice and seeking support which saw a decrease this year with the number reading 474 in 2022, but this is much too high.
“Burglaries are on the rise too with 143 this year compared to 109 in 2021. The majority of these crimes occur between 5pm and 9pm, and I would ask people not to leave valuables lying around and keep their homes secure.”
Scourge of drugs
He said illegal drugs continued to be a huge cause of concern for the force in Mayo and across the country. Gardaí have seized drugs with a value of €2.3 million in recent years in Mayo, as well as €213,000 in cash.
“We are also targeting the assets of drug dealers and are working hard to combat the scourge of drugs in our society. We see the damage it does every day. Some families have been harassed and intimidated to pay off drug debts and I would like to assure them we’re here to help in any situation where they’re put in fear by this type of behaviour.
Supt Harrington went on to say that intelligence-led operations were having a positive impact on crime and criminal gangs.
“Operation Thor has initiated numerous intelligence-driven operations which give people a great degree of reassurance. We made significant progress in regard to a gang of thieves operating across the country stealing boat engines, quads and ride-on lawnmowers.”
The superintendent went on to give details of crime figures for the county.
Rape and sexual assault figures show a large increase since last year, 46 compared to 34 while there were 40 such offences reported out in 2019.
The number of assaults causing harm remains almost the same over recent years, with 70 recorded in 2022, 74 in 2021 and 73 in 2019.
Minor assaults have increased this year with 311 recorded, compared to 251 in 2021 and 239 in 2019. Burglaries at 143 are up on 2021 figures of 109, but 10 percent lower than 2019, when 159 were recorded.
Incidents of criminal damage at 297 for 2022 are up 11 percent on the 2019 figure of 276, but there has been a significant drop from the number of 333 last year.
Public order incidents are almost the same as 2019, 320 compared to 318, but higher than last year where 277 were recorded.
There were five robberies reported in 2022, compared with four in 2021 and six in 2019.