There has been a slight increase in the number of crimes reported to and detected by Gardai in the Drogheda policing district in the six months to the end of June, compared to the same period in 2019 – despite the country being in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic lockdown for several months.
New figures as presented to members of the Drogheda Joint Policing Committee forum on Monday afternoon showed that despite significant drops in the numbers of robberies from premises, burglaries and theft from vehicles – there were more instances of criminal damage, public order offences and arrests under Section 15 Misuse of Drugs Act in relation to the sale and supply of drugs.
Drogheda Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters told the meeting that there were just two robberies from premises in the wider Drogheda area from January 1 to June 28, compared to 20 in the same period last year. There were also just 29 thefts from vehicles – down from 50, 68 burglaries – down from 78 but more thefts from shops – up 10% from 128 to 141.
The decrease in robberies of premises can perhaps be put down to the lockdown making it more difficult for perpetrators to avoid detection with considerably fewer persons or vehicles in public, while the steep drop in the number of thefts from vehicles can be similarly connected to the decrease in use of on-street parking and car parks as many workers stayed at home.
While there was a small decrease in assault causing harm (down 10% from 30 to 27), the number of minor assaults reported rose from 63 to 71 year-on-year. There were sizeable increases too in instances of criminal damage (up 15% to 148) and public order offences in the district (up by 30, an increase of 25%).
As Gardai in Drogheda continue to battle against the ongoing drug activity in the town and its surrounds, there were 24 more arrests for the sale and supply of drugs – a 60% increase, from 40 in 2019 to 64 in 2020. Chief Superintendent for Louth Christy Mangan told the meeting that not all 64 persons arrested were charged under Section 15, estimating that 10 to 15 were not charged as of yet, pending forensic analysis of substances seized.
There has been a drop on the number of persons found to be driving under influence in the Drogheda district in the first six months of the year. The figure of 20 is down by 10 on the previous year. There has also been a reduction in the number of traffic incidents causing serious injury, non-serious injury and material damage.
These figures are likely to be lockdown related, given the stark reduction of vehicles on the roads over the last number of months.
In Clogherhead, there were largely increases across the board but in very small quantities. There were six burglaries in the six months to the end of June, compared to three in the previous year. There were four thefts from vehicles in 2020, up from two.
Four people were arrested in the Clogherhead district for possession of drugs for personal use, up from just one in the same period last year. As part of Operation Stratus, Gardai in Clogherhead conducted eight searches under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
So far in 2020, there has been one road incident leading to a serious injury and one road incident leading to a non-serious injury. Two persons were arrested for driving under the influence.