CO LOUTH has the fourth highest crime rate in the country, with rapes and sexual assaults up by over 45 per cent in 2012, according to the latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures.
Only the three major urban centres Dublin, Limerick and Waterford, recorded more crimes on a per capita basis last year. The CSO report shows that the rate of burglaries in Louth is more than 50% above the national average and over four times the rate of burglaries in Kerry - the county with the lowest rate.
The figures reveal that Louth has the worst record for burglaries with over 93 per 10,000 population in 2012. The number of burglaries jumped by 23% last year to 1,146 - up 126. Louth also has the second highest rate of robberies and sexual offences.
There were three murders recorded; 96 sexual offences; 486 attempts/threats to murder, assaults, harrassments; and three kidnappings in Louth in 2012. The number of sexually offences increased significantly - up from 66 in 2011.
However, the overall crime rate in Louth dropped by 1% in 2012. Crime levels have fallen by almost 21% since 2008, largely due to a 20% reduction in thefts, 35% in criminal damage offences, 23% in threats to murder/assaults/harrassments, 25% in public order offences, and a 39% drop in weapons and explosive offences.
Drug offences have increased by 34% on top of the large-scale increases in burglaries (up 63%) and sexual offences which have more than doubled.
The number of gardai in Louth fell by 4% last year to 292 - down from 305 in 2011. Garda numbers are slightly below the national average at almost 24 gardai per 10,000 population.