Fall in crime levels welcomed

Howard Thornton

Cllr Howard Thornton

WHILE news the number of reported crimes in Fermanagh had fallen slightly on last year has been welcomed locally, there is still work to be done in tackling “new” crimes such as cyber-fraud. 
Reacting to the figures obtained by the Herald, which show there were close to 1,000 violent and sexual crimes reported to police in Fermanagh last year, Cllr Sheamus Greene said it was  “encouraging” the figure had fallen on last year, but added the number and types of crimes continuing to be reported throughout the county was “still disappointing.” 
Cllr Greene said he believed some of the decrease in the figures may be to do with the proactive approach being taken by farmers. 
“Out in rural areas you hear a lot about farm thefts, of tractors and animals and so on. That is what you hear talk of most,” he said. “For a while it was a major problem, but farmers are becoming more and more security conscious and are getting much more cautious.” 
Cllr Greene also said he believed cyber-crime, a crime that was not included in the statistics for Fermanagh, was the fastest growing problem in the area. 
“I know of a few people who have been caught out by it,” he said. “It’s very difficult to combat, the police are often powerless to do anything once it happens.
People need to be very wary, especially at this time of year when you get a lot of emails about online sales and so on.”
Cllr Howard Thornton, a member of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), said “a lot of work had been done by police in educating farmers”, with regard security and protecting their property, which he believed had helped foster that security-minded approach by those in rural communities.
Cllr  Thornton said “any improvement in existing crime figures is good to see”, particularly as there had also been a rise in the number of people reporting crimes to police. 
Cllr Tommy Maguire, also a member of the PCSP, also pointed out the fall in the crime figures coincided with an increase in those reporting crimes to police, which he said was encouraging. 
“People are beginning to engage more with the whole process,” he said, urging the community to continue to report all crimes to police. 
For example, he said while anti-social behaviour may be “a minor nuisance to some” it could be very distressing to others in the community, such as older people. 
Cllr Maguire said anyone who had any reservations about reporting a crime to police could report it instead to a their local representative or councillor such as himself, with their contact numbers available online. 

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