SHOOTINGS and violent deaths in Limerick have dropped dramatically this year, according to official Garda figures.
There have been two murders this year compared with six in 2008, when one violent death was also categorised as manslaughter.
Gun crimes have also dropped starkly.
Gardaí investigated 104 incidents involving the illegal discharges of firearms in 2007. These fell to 43 in 2008, while the number investigated so far, this year, stands at just 27.
Six years ago, it was estimated that more than a quarter of all illegal discharges of firearms in the state occurred in Limerick.
Specialist Garda units are now deployed locally tackling armed drugs gangs.
A report to the County Limerick Joint Policing Committee yesterday showed overall crime in the division had fallen by 15%.
There were 25,904 reported crimes in 2008 but that has dropped to 22,045 in 2009.
The Limerick Garda division takes in the city and county and a corner of south-east Clare on the outskirts of the city.
A report to the committee by Chief Superintendent Garry Mahon showed serious assaults were down by 17% and harassment type offences dropped by 23%. Minor assaults fell 8%.
However, there was a 7% increase in burglaries.
Chief Supt Mahon stated: “This reflects the spate of burglaries committed mainly in Co Limerick districts by groups of travelling criminals. Gardaí put in place targeted operations during the year focused on these groups and successes were achieved. Thefts rose by 2% and shoplifting continues to be the driver of the rise in these figures.”
Drugs offences were also up with a 7% increase in detection offences, the latest involving €70,000 worth of heroin found in a house in Castletroy early yesterday.
Gardaí are concerned at the amount of heroin being brought in by gangs and an extra drugs unit has been set up at Mayorstone Garda Station to tackle drugs gangs in areas on the northside of the city including Moyross and St Mary’s Park.
His report also stated that there were no racially motivated incidents reported in the division this year.
Chief Supt Mahon said they are still deploying additional resources to tackle public order “hot spots”.
“There are no indicators that antisocial behaviour has increased. Figures for assault criminal damage and harassment are down significantly and these types of offences are the general indicators for antisocial behaviour,” he said.
While road deaths have fallen in most of the country, there have been 22 fatal accidents so far in Limerick, compared with 19 last year.
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