Written Answers. - Galway-Salthill Crime Level.

Robert Molloy

Question:

55 Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Justice if her attention has been drawn to the concern in Galway/Salthill about the increase in crime and vandalism in the area; and the steps, if any, that are being taken to deal with this deteriorating situation.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that while provisional figures for 1992 indicate that there was an increase in crime in the Galway city area, figures for the Salthill area in that year indicate that there was a decrease in crime there. Indications for 1993 to date, are that there has been a decrease in crime levels in both locations.

The Garda authorities confirm that certain problems arise in the Galway and Salthill areas during the summer months arising from the large influx of visitors to these areas. Most of the problems arise from the behaviour of large numbers of youths congregating in certain locations. This is a symptom of a more general problem experienced in various urban areas throughout the country. I have taken certain initiatives to deal with this problem, including the preparation of a Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill which is being given priority in my Department. It will give appropriate powers to the Garda and the courts to deal with street crime and disorderly and threatening behaviour.

As far as Galway-Salthill is concerned, the Garda authorities are aware of the particular problems being experienced there and a number of measures have been and are taken to deal with the sitution. These include the closer co-ordination and use of foot and mobile patrols and checkpoints and the deployment of Garda resources to meet the special requirements of particular areas.

Since I took up office, 23 uniformed gardaí have been assigned to Galway-Salthill, two of whom have been assigned to full-time community duties. This brings the total number of members on community policing duties in the city to 11 and the total strength of the Galway West Division to 335. In addition, 12 student gardaí were assigned to Galway-Salthill patrol car was allowed to Galway city in the past two weeks.
I would also like to emphasise the role that community action can play in the fight against crime. The Garda authorities in Galway have been very active in the promotion of crime prevention measures and use all available opportunities to advise the public on sensible crime prevention precautions which they can take. The involvement of the public neighbourhood watch and community alert schemes has proved very effective in this regard as they bring the local community into closer contact with the Garda in the reporting of suspicious or unusual activities in their localities. I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently 13 community alert schemes and 48 neighbourhood watch schemes in operation in the Galway West Division.
I am satisfied that the Garda response to problems in the area is proving successful. The situation is however, being kept under constant review by the Garda authorities to ensure that all appropriate action is taken to deal with problems that arise.