Crime rates across the northern half of Co Longford dropped by almost 20 per cent during the first four months of this year, latest figures have shown.
In total, all recorded offences in the January to April period fell by 17 per cent when compared to the same timespan in 2012.
Road traffic incidents, criminal damage, burglaries and drug related cases continued to slide, Superintendent Ian Lackey informed a Joint Policing Commitee (JPC) meeting last week.
The only category which had shown minimal increase was theft with the likes of home heating oil and garden furniture proving especially popular among opportunist crime gangs.
As he relayed the findings to elected members last Tuesday evening, Supt Lackey said now was the time to keep a firm lid on the Granard region’s relatively low crime base.
“Burglaries for instance, in the 12 months from April 2012-2013 have decreased by 18 per cent. It has creeped up a little recently, but hopefully we (gardai) can keep these figures low,” he said.
Pointing to the increasing tendancy for criminals to home in on vacant properties, the Granard Garda chief had similarly cautionary advice when assessing drug related statistics.
He said the recent decision to relocate members of the Gardai’s divisional drugs unit to Longford had led to a rise in detections.
What Supt Lackey said was continuing to agitate officers locally was the growing attractiveness behind so-called cannabis cultivation.
Even though the past 12 months had indicated a slight decline, Supt Lackey said the discovery of up to 50 plants from a house in Edgeworthstown last month highlighted the monies criminals were making from its distribution.
“There was €30,000 of cannabis which was detected in that house,” he said, referring specifally to the Edgeworthstown find.
“That was a very elaborate set up as expensive lighting and fertiliser had been bought (for cultivation purposes)”.
Supt Lackey said one way gardai could keep tabs on the situation was by homeowners remaining vigilant and for business owners who notice anything suspicious in their locality to come forward.