KCLR NewsNews & Sport

Kilkenny gardaí warn crime levels are likely to rise

It's as Covid restrictions loosen

Local gardaí are warning that crime levels are likely to rise as Covid restrictions are loosened.

Most areas of the economy are reopening this week, as the entire country has been downgraded to an ammended Level 3.

This week’s meeting of the Kilkenny Joint Policing Committee heard there’s been 8,401 crime incidents across the county since January 1st.

But Thomastown’s Inspector Sean O’Meara expects that number to increase before 2020 ends telling KCLR News “We will see that rise, the simple fact is that those figures run to 31st of October so we have two months of the year yet to run, so essentially one sixth of the year still to run before the figures are finalised at the end of the year, on top of that we’d expect that with the opening up of the economy that, while everything else is going to increase and the risk of Covid infection’s going to increase, certainly the risks of crime is going to increase and the opportunity for criminals”.

He adds that crime is becoming more difficult to pinpoint in Kilkenny, with an increase in public order offences locally – 162 so far in 2020, up from 151 in 2019.

Inspector O’Meara says these crimes used to occur in clusters, but are now becoming widespread, isolated incidents, noting “We’re seeing incidents in other areas of the city we wouldn’t have heretofore but no consistent outliers bar one area in the city that was targeted earlier in the year when it was raised at the last JPC meeting and that issue has been resolved thank God but it’s popped up in estates, it’s isolated outbreaks of public order I suppose to where we had concentrated public order issues in the past”.

He also says the nature of the public orders is changing, commenting “We would have expected this to go down but it’s up slightly, drunkeness is down substantially over 100 from 2019 to 2020, but public order is up slightly, and I suppose it’s not where we would traditionally have found it, public order has always been mainly the night time economy was occurring a lot of the time, around midnight to 4am, and it was occurring in certain areas of the city, we knew where they were because it was an offset of the night time economy, without that economy we would have expected it to fall, it hasn’t fallen”.