Public warned to be vigilant against crime over Christmas
Minister issues calls despite figures showing fall in most types of offences
Latest figures show burglaries dropped by 10.4 per cent over the year and robberies fell by 5.2 per cent. File Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has warned the public to be vigilant this Christmas despite a drop in most types of crime.
Official figures show there were 17,500 fewer crimes committed in the 12 months to the end of September, but thefts continued to rise.
While burglaries dropped by 10.4 per cent over the year and robberies fell by 5.2 per cent , thieves struck 78,632 times.
There were 20,000 shoplifting offences, 6,100 thefts from a person - including mobile phones - and 44,200 complaints about other incidents including handling stolen goods.
Mr Shatter said gardaí have launched a range of operational measures to target the 3.6 per cent rise, including awareness-raising campaigns highlighting smartphone and similar thefts.
“I urge everyone to take great care with regard to where they keep their mobile phones, particularly in the lead-in to Christmas and over the holiday period,” he said.
“Don’t give an unintended Christmas present of your mobile phone to a thief.
“A great deal can be done by each of us to ensure our phones are safe. For example, never leave your phone unattended in your car.
“Also, when you are not using your phone, ensure that it is safe and secure in your pocket or handbag.
“Simple and straightforward precautions such as these can have a real impact in reducing mobile phone theft offence.”
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed reductions or no change in 12 out of the 14 categories up to the end of September, and an overall reduction in crime of 7.1 per cent from 248,685 in 2012 to 231,029 in 2013.
A drop in the number of murders and manslaughters was offset by an increase in the number of deaths caused by dangerous driving, which rose from 17 to 21. Mr Shatter said it is incumbent on everyone, especially at this time of year, to drive safely and with care and to comply with the law.
“Unfortunately, it has been the experience that avoidable road fatalities occur over the Christmas period,” he said. “I urge all drivers to act responsibly to ensure that they do not bring unexpected tragedy to their family or to any other family in the State.
“Christmas should be a time for celebration and not for mourning.”
Annual figures revealed there were also fewer allegations of the most serious crimes, including sexual offences, assaults and harassment, dangerous acts, drug offences, criminal damage, public order, and weapons and explosive finds.
There were five more kidnappings and related offences, up to 106.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he was heartened that the hard work being carried out by officers throughout the country is reflected in the statistics.
“The fall in weapons and explosives offences (down 6.7 per cent) and offences against the State (down 11.8 per cent) show that our continuing efforts to dismantle all aspects of organised crime and subversive activity is having a definable benefit for the law-abiding citizens of the country who wish to live their lives in peace,” he added. “We will continue to ensure our work is carried out in consultation with, and for the benefit of, communities around the country.”