A “MASSIVE improvement” in Kilrush is one of the things Clare’s highest ranking garda is most proud of, he revealed recently.
“I came to Clare in 2007 and in those years there didn’t seem to be anything but bad publicity about Kilrush and incidents happening there,” Chief Superintendent John Kerin stated.
“Certainly, I think if people look at the crime statistics and the occurrences there over the last three years, there has been a massive reduction in incidents of crime and disorder,” he added.
“Now don’t get me wrong, there are still nasty enough incidents occurring but the amount of crime as shown in the statistics for 2014 and the first four months of this year would indicate that things have improved massively,” he said.
From January to April this year, there were a total of four burglaries, two thefts from vehicles, five incidents of other thefts and 11 reports of criminal damage in Kilrush.
The number of burglaries there was just 6.66% of the number reported in Ennis (60) and less than 3% of the total number of burglaries reported in the county (137). Just over 3% of the county’s thefts were reported in Kilrush and its incidents of reported criminal damage represented about 8% of the number countywide.
“It is definitely one of the things in my time in the force that I will be most proud of, the way Kilrush has turned itself around from a place where there was nothing but bad publicity to a vibrant, thriving town with relatively little crime,” Chief Superintendent Kerin stated.
“Any issue that is happening there is being well addressed by the county council, the gardaí, the people themselves and the local councillors by working together and there has been a lot of hard work by a lot of people in the town. The whole environment has been changed there,” he added.
Another major factor in crime detection in the West Clare town relates to the presence of closed circuit television there.
“A lot of serious incidents have been solved and a lot have been prevented because of the cameras. To say they have been beneficial is an understatement,” the chief superintendent said.
The number of gardaí living in West Clare has been a further help in reducing and solving crime in the district.
“I am 17 years in Clare and for the first time I have seen a huge amount of gardaí living in the division and going to stay living here,” Inspector John Ryan told representatives.
The chief superintendent said he did not believe that the code preventing gardaí working within a certain distance of their home should apply in West Clare.
“I am anxious to get Clare people back to Clare to live and work here because they know the area…I don’t agree with gardaí travelling 50 to 60 miles to work,” he added.
“I would like to have more guards living in Kilrush itself but there are a lot of guards living around Kilrush, like in Kilmihil, Lissycasey and in West Clare really, I suppose. They are a lot more conscious of what is happening in the communities,” Chief Superintendent Kerin outlined.
While he noted there is still some criminal activity, “We have a dream situation in Kilrush where crime is minimal,” he concluded.
By Nicola Corless