71% of public consider national crime ‘serious problem’ – survey

In contrast, only 16% of people view crime in their local area as a serious problem

Less than half those questioned said they would describe An Garda Síochána as a world class police force. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Less than half those questioned said they would describe An Garda Síochána as a world class police force. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

More than two-thirds of people believe crime is either a serious or very serious problem nationally, the latest Garda Public Attitudes Survey has found.

Some 71 per cent of those surveyed believe crime to be a serious problem in the State, down from 74 per cent in the previous survey at the end of last year.

Despite their belief that crime was a serious issue nationally, only 16 per cent said they perceived crime in their locality to be a serious or very serious problem. The proportion of respondents who had been victims of crime fell to 4.4 per cent, the lowest recorded level since October 2015.

More than half of those surveyed (55 per cent) said they did not worry about becoming a victim of a crime. Some 35 per cent said they had no fear of crime in general, an increase of four percentage points from the previous survey.

Less than half (41 per cent) said they would describe An Garda Síochána as a world class police force, and 54 per cent said they thought the organisation was well managed.

Only 42 per cent of people said they believed the number of gardaí in their community was high enough. Even fewer (38 per cent) said they were aware of Garda patrols in their area in the past three months.

Satisfaction

However, 79 per cent of respondents said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service gardaí provided in their community, with 72 per cent saying they viewed the Garda as being community focused.

The number of respondents who said they were victims of crime and had reported the most recent crime against them to gardaí fell from nearly 90 per cent to 85 per cent between the surveys.

Some 56 per cent of respondents felt gardaí investigating their case had provided them with enough information. This figure has been steadily increasing since last year, and was up six percentage points on the last survey.

Nine out of 10 people reported having trust in An Garda Síochána, one of the highest approval ratings for the force recorded in the surveys.

Other statistics that saw increases since the last survey was the number of people who agreed gardaí could be relied upon when needed, up five points to some 75 per cent. The number of those who believed gardaí listen to the concerns of local people also increased by four points to 84 per cent.

Some 94 per cent of respondents agreed that gardaí were friendly and helpful and more than two-thirds said they felt gardaí were effective at tackling crime.

The regular survey is conducted by Amárach Research, which asks a representative sample of 1,500 people questions on their perceptions of the police force.

Commenting on the survey findings, John Twomey, deputy commissioner for policing and security, said the findings suggested the force had a “strong connection with communities”.