Drug-driving detections have more than doubled in Cork city and county in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year.
Senior gardaí also confirmed assaults increased, in the first three months, and underlined their concern most were drug-fuelled.
The latest crime statistics were released by Chief Superintendent Thomas Myers yesterday, at a meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) in County Hall.
Drink-driving cases were more or less on a par with the corresponding period in 2018.
In the first three months of last year, meanwhile, there were 21 detections for drug-driving but the number rose to 54 this year.
-Chief Supt Myers said
Senator Jerry Buttimer said it was important to stamp out drug-driving and welcomed an increase in detections.
However, crimes against the person are also up. Compared to 103 assaults causing harm in 2018, the comparable period this year increased to 139. Minor assaults were up from 402 to 462.
“A lot of it is drug-related,” Chief Supt Myers emphasised but added that alcohol-related offences shot up from 428 to 527.
The garda chief also said that in a number of cases officers had identified the offenders “but the victims will not press charges”.
Cllr Gearoid Murphy, a barrister by occupation, said it was disappointing to have assaults increasing.
He was told by Chief Supt Myers it was, most likely, a result of the economy picking up and people having more money to spend on socialising.
Meanwhile, criminal damage cases, several of which could be linked to drink or drug misuse, rose from 532 to 643 cases. Arson attacks were also up from 26 to 42.
Burglaries and thefts from shops are down, however, which Chief Supt Myers described as “a good news story”.
– he said.
However, the chief superintendent disclosed thefts from vehicles increased from 283 to 348 and said it was being made easy for opportunist criminals as many people don’t lock their cars in their driveways overnight.
He pointed out that, in one incident this year,a gang carried out robberies from around 30 cars in the greater Clonakilty area as many of the vehicles were not locked.
Furthermore, Chief Supt Myers said drivers were also leaving valuables on display when parking at beauty spots – which was an open invitation to criminals.
Fortunately, road deaths in the region were down from six to two but serious injury collisions were marginally up from 20 to 23.
Chief Supt Myers, who is in charge of policing in the Cork North Garda Division, advised Cllr June Murphy he was hoping to have a Protective Service Unit – dedicated to solving sexual crimes – operational in his area by the autumn.
Chief Supt Con Cadogan, the senior officer in the Cork West Garda Division, told the JPC meeting that Ballinspittle garda station closed some years ago was set to reopen in September.
Source: Full Feed