Sharp rise in serious offending last year with near doubling of murders

One of the few categories to see a decrease was fraud, which peaked during pandemic

Last year saw dramatic increases across most serious crime categories, including a 30 per cent rise in homicide offences and a 41 per cent rise in thefts.

One bright spot was a 32 per cent decrease in fraud and similar offences, mostly driven by a fall-off in unauthorised banking transactions and attempts to extract personal or banking information by phone, a category of crime that peaked during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Releasing the final set of crime statistics for 2022, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) warned comparisons with previous years’ crime statistics will likely be influenced by the Covid-19 public health restrictions, which were mostly lifted early last year.

Theft offences saw the highest rate of increase, with 19,000 additional offences (41 per cent) being recorded last year compared with 2021.


Homicide and related offences, such as attempted murder and dangerous driving causing death, increased by 30 per cent, with 91 incidents.

Murders almost doubled in 2022, rising from 23 to 44. This was mostly driven by an increase in domestic homicides and street attacks, rather than violence connected to organised crime.

There was a 19 per cent increase in robbery, extortion and hijacking offences and a 17 per cent jump in assault, harassment and similar crimes.

As expected, given the lifting of Covid restrictions, there was a 10 per cent increase in public order offences and a 10 per cent drop in offences relating to the illegal sale of alcohol.

Last year also saw a 6 per cent increase in sexual offences, including a 3 per cent increase in rape and 8 per cent increase in sexual assault.

Drug offending

One of the few crime categories to record a decrease was drug offending, which saw a 13 per cent drop. This was partly driven by a 45 per cent drop in arrests for cultivating or manufacturing drugs. The majority of these offences involved growing cannabis plants.

However, the resumption of unimpeded international travel saw a 61 per cent increase in people charged with importation of drugs. There were 37 such incidents recorded last year, compared with 23 in 2021.

There was a 10 per cent increase in burglary type offences in 2022, which includes a 37 per cent rise in the number of people being caught with implements used for break-ins.

Other categories that saw increases include weapons offences (3 per cent), property damage (12 per cent) and breaches of court orders (13 per cent).

The CSO said these statistics were being published with the “under reservation” proviso due to concerns about Garda record keeping.

“This categorisation indicates that the quality of these statistics do not meet the standards required of official statistics published by CSO,” it said.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times