CORK has seen a surge in crimes such as thefts and public order offences largely due to the reopening of the economy after Covid last year, heard Friday’s meeting of a joint policing committee (JPC).
Presenting the crime figures for Cork between January and December 2022, Chief Superintendent Vincent O’Sullivan said gardaí dealt with 183,000 incidents in the county during the period: around 92,000 incidents in Cork City, 53,000 in Cork North, and 37,000 in Cork West.
In Cork City, property crimes have jumped from 2,473 incidents in 2021 to 4,062 during the same period in 2022, while crimes against people have risen from 1,239 to 1,481.
In Cork North, property crimes have risen from 677 incidents to 1,152, and crimes against people have climbed from 662 to 747.
In Cork West, property crimes have increased from 356 to 444, and crimes against people have risen from 348 to 414.
In the Cork City Division, non-aggravated burglaries have risen from 234 incidents to 237, thefts of vehicles, 155 incidents to 364; interfering with a vehicle, 59 to 225; thefts from a person, 36 to 54; thefts from shops, 925 to 1,712; thefts from vehicles, 354 to 359; thefts of bicycles, 186 down to 178; and thefts of other property, 445 to 799.
Cork City is “doing quite well” in relation to burglaries, as there had been historical issues with criminals travelling down from Dublin, said Chief Supt O’Sullivan.
“A lot of intelligence gathering is working quite well. We are using our Roads Policing Units and intelligence units in Dublin as to these travelling criminals, breaking into houses, which is a very serious crime, and a shock to the victims.
“A lot of people don’t get over that there was an intruder in the house.”
A Winter Thor crime prevention campaign is ongoing, warning people to keep their lights on during the dark evenings.
“One of the biggest issues we have in the city at the moment is the theft of unauthorised vehicles, and some of these are Japanese cars. We are working very closely with the motor trade in relation to that.”
Numerous individuals have been arrested, but it will take time to process the cases, as many are juveniles. Thefts from shops are significantly up, partially due to reopenings after Covid.
‘Other’ thefts are also up, due to the night-time economy reopening. Thefts of handbags and phones from pubs are driving up that category, said Chief Supt O’Sullivan.
In Cork North Division, non-aggravated burglaries are down from 152 incidents to 127, vehicle thefts have risen (31 to 64), interfering with a vehicle has increased (10 to 15), thefts from a person remains at below 10 incidents, thefts from shops have jumped from 201 to 470, thefts from vehicles have decreased (85 to 68), bicycle thefts are up (24 to 29), and thefts of ‘other’ property has increased (149 to 334).
Monitoring trains and buses in Cork North is “going really well,” said Chief Supt O’Sullivan.
In Cork West, non-aggravated burglaries are up marginally (62 to 68), vehicle thefts are up (12 to 20), interfering with a vehicle and thefts from a person both remain at below 10 incidents, thefts from shops have climbed (94 to 144), thefts from a vehicle are down (42 to 23), thefts of bicycles are up marginally (11 to 13), and thefts of ‘other’ property have increased (115 to 148).
In Cork City, minor assaults not resulting in hospitalisation are up from 749 to 950 incidents, often occurring during the night-time economy and during large festivals.
Assaults causing harm are up from 251 to 286 in the city.
In Cork North, assaults causing harm are significantly up (105 to 152), while minor assaults are also up (359 to 413).
In Cork West, assaults causing harm remain static at 53 incidents, while minor assaults are up from 200 to 262.
Arson in Cork City is up (93 to 98), criminal damage is up (985 to 1,131), public order offences have decreased (1,121 to 1,073), and drunkenness offences are up (937 to 1,039).
“We have a lot of policing issues at the weekend in the city, and we have public order hotspots in the city,” said Chief Supt O’Sullivan.
“We put guards at strategic locations, particularly on a Friday and Saturday nights.”
Gardaí are working with taxis, niteclubs, late bars, the city council, and public transport to get people home safely.
In Cork North, arson incidents are down (32 to 25), criminal damage is up (394 to 423), public order offences are up (339 to 390), and drunkenness offences are also up (314 to 337).
In Cork West, the figures are: arson, 15 to 14; criminal damage, 235 down to 189; public order offences, 171 to 168, and drunkenness offences, 119 to 122.
In terms of driving while intoxicated, Cork city saw a decline from 274 incidents in 2021 to 270 in 2022: Cork North, 274 to 330, and Cork West, 193 to 181).
“I still can’t comprehend how anybody gets behind the wheel of a car under the influence of drink or drugs, and sometimes we have people under the influence of both. It’s like a weapon in a public place,” said the chief superintendent.
In Cork City, there were 48 reports of rape in 2022, up from 47 in 2021. Non-aggravated sexual assaults remained at 116 reported incidents.
In Cork North, the figures were: rape, 38 reports in 2022, up from 19; sexual assaults, 56 incidents, up from 53.
In Cork West, the incidents were: rape, 12 reports in 2022 down from 25, and sexual assaults, 40 in 2021 down to 37 in 2022.
In Cork City, there were 203 cases of possession of drugs for sale or supply in 2022, down from 278, with 820 cases of drugs possession for personal use, down from 1,254.
In Cork North, the figures are: drugs supply, 129 cases down to 109 in 2022, and drugs possession, 517 up to 553).
In Cork West, the figures are: drugs supply, 69 to 73, and drugs possession, 223 down to 174.
In terms of domestic abuse, there was an 18% increase from 2021 to 2022 in Cork City, a 13% increase in Cork North, and a 4% increase in Cork West.