Hot weather sparks spike in number of burglaries

David Looby

Published 12/07/2014 | 12:00

THE HOT weather is bringing out hot fingered burglars, with Gardaí recording a spike in burglaries in recent weeks.

Chief Superintendent John Roche said the recent hot weather has tempted many burglars outdoors, adding that they are targeting homes where back doors and windows have been left open or ajar.

Supt Roche said: 'Domestic burglaries are starting to creep up again after a quiet start to the year. In most houses windows are open and back doors are left open in the hot weather. People go out to cut the grass or get some sun and they return to find their jewellery or purse or cash is gone.'

Supt Roche urged people to ensure their house windows aren't left open when they go out for any period of time.

'Thieves are opportunistic. They will slip in and grab what they can and go. People go to work and leave a window ajar on the latch and that's all the time they need. In the last few weeks since the weather has improved we've seen a big increase in burglaries across the county.'

Supt Roche raised his concerns during an interview with this newspaper regarding recorded Garda crime figures for the first quarter of the year, which, by and large, show a decrease in crime rates.

The figures, which were released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) last week, show a decrease in public order, sexual and robbery offences and a decrease in drug offences across several categories.

Violent crime has risen, however, especially in the Enniscorthy and north Wexford area. There were 90 assault related crimes recorded in the first three months of the year compared to 83 in the first quarter of 2013.

There were 12 assault causing harm offences, five more than in the same period last year.

Two offences of discharging a firearm were listed in comparison to none in early 2013, while there were 12 weapons and explosives offences, compared to ten in the first quarter of 2013.

Burglary offences were down from 322 in early 2013 to 240 in the first three months of this year, but there were five aggravated burglary offences in early 2014 compared to two in early 2013.

Robbery offences were also down from six in early 2013 to five in early 2014, while pubic order offences fell from 207 in early 2013 to 142 in early 2014. There were 67 controlled drug offences in the period compared to 60 in early 2013.

One human trafficking offence was recorded from Rosslare Europort but Supt Roche said the Director of Public Prosecutions has yet to rule on whether a case will be proceeding.

There were 31 fraud offences recorded in early 2013 down from 35 in early 2013.

Last year there were two homicides in the Wexford Garda Division in quarter one but there hasn't been a similar case so far this year.

Although the CSO report shows two kidnapping cases in the county this year, Supt Roche said none of these were serious incidents and may have involved access to children issues between separated parents.

Thefts were also down from 399 in early 2013 to 366 in the period, but theft from the person offences doubled from six in the first quarter of 2013 to 12 in the first three months of this year.

Supt Roche said iPhones are being targeted and sold on in the old eastern European block countries.

'The one area that shows an increase is theft from the person. A number of mobile phones have been taken from people which is slightly more serious than ordinary theft.'

Purses and handbags hanging form shopping trolleys are also being targeted. 'We've had teenagers who have had their phones stolen; they are worth about €500 and are valuable. You can get them cleaned and wiped and a lot of them are going to the olf eastern Europe market.'

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