Gardaí saved the lives of two people from a fire in Ballincollig, Co Cork, when they spotted flames coming from a hair salon while on patrol.
After alerting the fire brigade, members determined that the apartment above the hairdressers was occupied.
They forced entry and assisted the male occupant in exiting the building.
As they tried to bring the fire under control with an extinguisher they realised that another person, the owner of the salon, lived at the back of the business and was unaware of the fire.
The gardaí rescued her and they left the premises safely before the fire took control.
“Garda members were unable to extinguish the fire as they were overcome by flames and smoke,” said a Garda report. “However, due to their swift actions, both occupants were safely evacuated from the building.”
The incident, previously unpublicised, occurred last May, and is one of a number of cases detailed in the latest report by the Garda Commissioner to the Policing Authority. The report reveals a sharp rise in violent property crimes in the last year, even though the number of property offences declined.
A 17% jump in violent property crimes was driven by increases in robbery from the person offences, robbery of an establishment, and aggravated burglaries.
Senior officers are concerned at the rise. Sources have said they are targeting gangs and known repeat offenders, although there are constraints in terms of overtime for such operations.
The commissioner’s report, sent to the Policing Authority, shows that the overall number of property crimes (the bulk being non-violent) is down 3%.
This includes a 15% reduction in the eastern region, a 5% drop in the south-eastern region and a 4% fall in Dublin. The southern region was the only area that reported a rise in property crime, up by 12%.
The report also details a 10% reduction in reported incidents of criminal damage, but a 4% rise in reported public order incidents.
The report stressed the figures are provisional and that the official data is published by the CSO.
CSO statistics published last month show a sharp rise in recorded sex crimes, assaults, robberies and weapon offences.
The CSO resumed publication of Garda figures last March, the first time in nine months, under “caution”, reflecting their concerns over the data.
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