FIGURES for the last eight months have shown decreases in many types of crime in Cork city, but the theft of bicycles has been described as an “aberration”, with an increase in thefts this year.
A Cork City Joint Policing Committee meeting took place on Monday and was the first since the Covid-19 lockdown in March.
Presenting the figures for January to August 2020, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin described bike thefts as “one of those old chestnuts that’s very difficult to crack”.
In Cork city, there was a 24% increase compared to the same period last year; there were 201 incidents in the first eight months of this year compared to 162 incidents last year.
“There is a gang of young people that are involved in the theft of bikes, primarily from the city centre, stealing good quality valuable bikes. We have disrupted their activities somewhat but they’re still very much in play,” Chief Supt McPolin said.
He appealed to the public to take extra precautions by parking their bicycle in a secure place and investing in a good quality lock. It is important to have photographs of the bike, including any identifying marks, and to note the registered number of the bike which is normally located on the frame of the bike underneath the pedals.
Chief Supt McPolin said gardaí will also explore other ways of preventing the theft of bicycles.
“I know within the farming community, they have a system of registering valuable property and the crime prevention officers in rural divisions are very active in that respect. Maybe it’s something we can look at in that respect in marking valuable property, such as bicycles, in the urban environment,” he said.
The majority of other types of property crime were on a downward or level trend.
Other types of crime which have experienced a decline so far this year include crimes against the person. Assaults causing harm, minor assault, harassment, stalking and threats and menacing phone calls were down on last year.
Chief Supt McPolin said the decline could be ascribed to quieter streets as a result of the lockdown and the fact that licenced premises were closed for a number of months.
“A lot of incidents of assault etc might happen on the street outside those premises and some indeed within those premises,” said Chief Supt McPolin.
He added that the change to a 12-hour roster for gardaí meant that there was “at least a 20% increase in visibility on the streets both at night time and day time”.