THE NUMBER of break-ins to homes and businesses increased by 23% in 2012, according to the latest garda statistics.
Burglaries went up, in line with the national picture, across Louth, and showed a significant jump in the year-on-year incidents.
'The figures show that the increases were largely in the major towns Dundalk and Drogheda,' said Chief Supt Pat McGee.
Indeed, the rate of burglaries in Drogheda went up by 44%, whereas Dundalk showed a smaller increase of 16%.
The Garda chief pointed that in many of these incidents, doors were left unlocked in houses or premises where the burglary was then reported.
'This highlights just how important it is to ensure that your home and premises are properly secured, as burglars could be in the area,' said Chief Supt McGee.
The statistics also showed that robbery from an individual went up by 21% in 2012, as did robbery from an establishment, businesses or premises.
Improved access to Louth from others parts of the country continued to be a factor in ongoing crime rates, added the chief superintendent.
'We would suffer quite a lot from criminals travelling to Louth from Dublin in particular,' he said, admitting that this became a factor in the years after the opening of the M1 motorway.
The figures revealed that, by contrast, the number of aggravated burglaries, where a weapon was used or violence inflicted, dropped by 40% in 2012.
Chief Supt McGee said it was a 'welcome development', especially because aggravated burglaries was also down in the previous year by as much as 70% in some parts of Louth.
'Last year we saw aggravated burglaries actually fell by 60% in Dundalk and by 38% in Drogheda.'
He added that attacks and intimidation of older people in their homes, which have frighteningly become more prevalent over the last decade, had also fallen in number last year.
'Many of these attacks on the elderly were frequently classified as aggravated burglaries, so it is very welcome to see a reduction,' said the chief superintendent..
'There has been a lot of work done by organisations working with older people, so there is a lot more awareness out there now, which I think has helped.'