The COVID-19 virus may have wreaked havoc with peoples jobs, lives and the economy, but there appears to be one positive side to the pandemic.
Due mainly to the lockdown and ongoing restrictions, the level of crime in the county has fallen dramatically this year.
On Friday, Kerry Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster briefed members of the Kerry Joint Policing Committee – which met in an online video conference – on the crime figures for the first nine months of the year.
With almost every category of crime showing a very large decrease, the effect of the virus was clear.
Property crime fell by 28 per cent; criminal damage and public order offences were down 24 per cent and assaults dropped by 18 per cent.
Burglaries and thefts from people and homes were down by more than a third, while shoplifting offences fell by 28 per cent. Serious assaults fell from 106 in 2019 to 86 in the same period this year. Minor assaults fell from 369 in 2019 to 285 in 2020. Public-order offences fell from 535 to 379, while drunkenness offences dropped from 455 to 320.
Possession of drugs for sale increased slightly, going from 63 to 75 but, Chief Supt Foster said, this was linked to increased enforcement rather than any apparent increase in dealing. Possession of drugs for personal use was down by 20 per cent, falling from 440 to 351.
Drunk-driving also fell sharply from 234 to 191, an 18-per-cent drop.
“We are living in strange times, and that is reflected in the figures,” said Chief Supt Foster. “It would be lovely if we had these kind of figures every year but that’s, sadly, not the case.”