MUGGINGS are on the rise in Swords and Malahide according to new Garda figures seen by the Fingal Independent which record a 35 per cent increase in this kind of crime.Combined figures for the two towns for the first eight months of this year have been released to the Fingal Joint Policing Committee. They saw 23 muggings up to the end of August this year, up from a figure of 17 in the same period last year. Burglaries have hit the headlines all year locally as a major increase in this type of crime was witnessed but, over the eight months, that rise has begun to slow down with just an eight per cent increase in the incidence of burglary when measured against the same period last year. Swords Garda Station says that its street crime unit is ' concentrating on tackling burglaries and thefts from MPVs (cars) in Swords and Malahide'. The provisional statistics, yet to be formally sanctioned by the CSO, reveal a welcome decrease in assaults causing harm but drugs are still a problem on our streets and a growing one with the possession of drugs for sale or supply increasing by 12 per cent. A firearm has been discharged twice in the area during this period and there have been five incidents of illegal guns being seized. Public order incidents in the district are down marginally by one per cent and robberies from an establishment and shoplifting as well as criminal damage are also on a downward trend. Reporting on their day-to-day work, gardaí in the district said they are participating in a range of different ongoing operations and continue to mount checkpoints and surveillance operations on a daily basis. Underage drinking is being targeted in Swords and Malahide and the antisocial behaviour that goes with it with underage drinkers regularly being returned to their parents by gardaí. There has also been a specific operation in this regard at Portmarnock Beach where gardaí from Malahide and Fingal County Council have worked together to tackle antisocial behaviour problems on the beach. The district is also seeing increased visibility policing in high crime areas and pharmacies and licensed premises have been targetted with crime prevention advice. Gardaí in the district have also been handing out crime prevention advice at checkpoints and to victims of crime which gives sensible advice from the dangers of leaving valuables in your car, to securing your property properly and being a good neighbour by reporting suspicious activity in your area. Local gardaí have also advised businesses on crime prevention and have encouraged businesses to have staff briefings to make sure all employees are familiar with crime prevention policies and procedures with an emphasis on personal safety. After some incidents that relied on thieves monitoring the banking habits of individuals or companies, gardaí also advised that ' banking procedures should be varied to avoid a pattern developing'.