The number of murders in the Republic doubled after a lull in killings during the pandemic period, while thefts and robbery-related crimes have also surged, new figures from the Central Statistic Office (CSO) shows.
There were 47 murders in the period to the end of June, compared to 24 in the previous corresponding period. That is the highest number of murders recorded in a decade and has been driven largely by domestic killings as gangland fatal attacks have fallen to unprecedented lows for the modern era.
The CSO crime trends, based on crime data supplied by the Garda and published on Monday, show frauds have fallen after markedly increasing during the pandemic period, down 37 per cent in the 12 months to the end of June.
Despite significant public discourse around serious assaults, the data shows assaults causing harm – which are at the upper end of the scale – marginally declined, by one per cent, during the period. However, other assaults increased by five per cent, to 14,238. These are a mix of street assaults and those reported in the context of domestic, and other, settings.
Also in the area of street violence or disorder, public order crimes nationally were down by two per cent. The specific offence of “disorderly conduct” – which always accounts for the vast majority of public order crimes in the Republic – was down by three per cent to 25,495 crimes in the 12 months to the end of June.
Thefts and related offences increased by 25 per cent, to 71,284, and almost half of that increase was accounted for by thefts from shops. The number of thefts from shops in the 12-month period to the end of June, at 30,019, is by far the highest for any year-long period since the CSO began compiling crime data in 2000.
Shop owners have told The Irish Times they believe economic factors, such as inflation and higher fuel costs, appear to have resulted in more people shop lifting. Some have said they have begun to catch more office workers stealing from their stores, adding to an already concerning problem for their businesses.
Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences increased by 21 per cent, to 2,328 crimes recorded, in the year to the end of June. Most of that increase was accounted for by robberies from the person, which rose by 17 per cent, to 1,031 offences nationally in the 12-month period under review.
However, in other crime categories, the number of offences increased by more marginal amounts, as society continues to return to normal after the pandemic years when crime plummeted. And in some cases, crime decreased in the year to the end of June.
Sexual offences overall were largely unchanged, increasing by one per cent; rapes were down by eight per cent, to 939 crimes; defilement of juveniles were down 25 per cent; sexual assaults increased by eight per cent, to 2,053 in the period.
Despite the increase in the number of deaths on the road, and growing concern generally around road safety, there was a reduction in the number of drivers caught drink driving (5,315, down six per cent) and driving while under the influence of drugs with 1,664 recorded, down 25 per cent.
Burglaries were down by eight per cent having halved during the pandemic period and remain at all-time lows despite other crime types increasing. Drug crime was up six per cent, with possession of drugs for personal use up four per cent, to 12,056 cases, and possession of drugs for sale or supply was up 15 per cent to 4,859.
Gun crime also remains historically low, despite some minor increases. The offence of illegally discharging a firearm was recorded 76 times in the Republic in the 12-month period to June, down one per cent, and far lower than the record highs of 300 offences or more annually at times during the Celtic Tiger period.
The number of offences of illegal possession of a firearm recorded in the 12 months to the end of June increased by eight per cent, to 194 cases. However, that is still much lower than the record number of cases of 452 recorded in 2008, when gangland feuding peaked.