Crime data suggests home burglary rate is falling

On average one home burglary per day reported to Garda in each of 26 counties

Home burglaries have fallen to record low levels in recent months according to previously unpublished crime data.

The new, more detailed, burglary figures show that on average, only one home break-in per day was reported to the Garda in each of the 26 counties during February and March this year.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who leads Special Crime Operations, said the winter phase of Operation Thor was aimed at prolific burglary gangs. And he believed it had been very successful.

He said just over 28,000 burglaries had been recorded in 2012. But last year and during 2016 some 10,000 fewer burglaries were recorded. “Those figures occurred at the time of recession,” he said with Garda manpower and overtime both sharply falling as the burglary rate soared.


Cash and gold

“Our data analysts tell us that in the first three months of this year, compared to the first three months of 2017; there was a 25 per cent decrease in residential burglaries.”

Mr O’Driscoll said cash and gold were the most popular items for burglars. Some gangs were stealing gold and immediately placing it into pre-addressed envelopes for posting to mail-based “cash for gold” outlets. They did this so they would not be caught with stolen gold.

At one outlet the owner was found to have more than 400 pieces of gold yet had receipts for only one piece. However, he avoided being prosecuted because it could not be proven he knowingly handled stolen goods.

Concerns have been raised about the Garda’s crime data in recent years. However, the CSO has again began publishing crime data recently having stopped last year due to concerns about homicide figures.

The new burglary figures obtained by The Irish Times state that in February, some 892 domestic burglaries were reported, a fall of 27 per cent on the same month in 2017. And in March 806 domestic burglaries were reported to gardaí across the country, a 38 per cent fall on March 2017.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times