The impact of Covid-19 is clear to see in the recorded instances of crime in the Ardee policing district so far in 2020 – with decreases seen in a number of categories, as shown in new statistics provided by Gardai in Ardee this week.
However, there were worrying increases in year-on-year figures to July 3 pertaining to assaults causing harm and threats to kill or cause harm – which officers say are due to an increase in domestic incidents, a knock-on effect of the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Gardai in the Mid-Louth area – not including Dunleer – have also responded to two fatal traffic collisions so far this year, compared to just one in the entirety of last year.
There were significant decreases in the number of burglaries (38 in the first six months of the year, compared to 108 in the whole of 2019), criminal damage (down 26% on the same period last year, at just 32), public order offences (down 25% from the first six months of last year, at 18), instances of trespassing which is down 56% year-to-date and thefts which stands at 40 for the six-months to July 3. There were 149 thefts in the Ardee district in the whole of 2019.
Detections of dangerous driving was up 44%, at 26 for to July 3 this year. while Gardai charged 13 people with intoxicated driving in the Ardee district, a small increase on the figure for the corresponding period last year.
There were 685 speeding offences detected from January 1 to July 3, up a huge 58% from the previous year. Gardai put speeding increases down to there being less traffic on the road between March and July.
Speaking at Thursday’s Ardee Joint Policing Commitee forum, Ardee Superintendent James O’Leary put down some of the large year-on-year decline in crime reports and detections down to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
“We had a lot of restrictions of movement. There were a lot more people at home,” he said. Supt O’Leary also said that the increased assault figures were “unfortunately indicative of domestic incidents.”
There were 12 incidents of assault causing harm in the Ardee district up to July, up 100% on the same period last year. Threats to kill or cause harm also doubled this year (11), according to the figures.
“With less cars on the road, cars and vehicles were travelling at significantly greater speed,” he added.
He said that that figures showing thefts from shops had risen 31% was due to the fact shops such as supermarkets and convenience stores were the only outlets open for much of the year. “They became the target for our criminal fraternity.”
In terms of drug detections, figures for detections of sales and supply and simple possession both rose in the first six months of the year compared to last year, increasing 33% and 20% respectively.