Dublin burglary epidemic surges ahead of rest of Republic
Dublin Garda divisions account for all national increases in burglaries since 2008
Many gardaí believe small-time drug dealers have turned to burglary to fund their lifestyle. Photograph: Frank Miller
Burglary rates in some parts of Dublin have doubled since the crime began rising with the onset of the recession.
The epidemic in the capital is now so severe that all of the increases in burglary rates nationally since the start of 2008 is accounted for in Dublin.
Many gardaí believed small-time drug dealers squeezed out of the drugs market as the disposable incomes of recreational drugs users contracted during the recession have turned to burglary for money.
There were 23,603 burglary crimes nationally in 2007 and 26,259 last year; an increase of 2,656 crimes, or just over 11 per cent.
Of that 2,656 burglary increase nationally, the Garda’s six Dublin divisions combined account for 2,610 of the offences.
The rest of the country combined recorded an increase of just 46 crimes.
The figures completely debunk widely held thinking that rural Ireland has been hit by a burglary epidemic. On the contrary, it is Dublin that has been hit hardest by the recession-related burglary boom.
However, while the six Dublin Garda divisions combined recorded a 29 per cent increase in burglaries, some of those divisions posted much higher increases and two Dublin divisions witnessed falling rates.
And while the other 22 Garda divisions combined recorded flat burglary rates since the recession began, nine divisions saw increases and 13 save decreases.
The Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) Western Division recorded the most burglaries of any division last year: 2,392 crimes, up 69 per cent since 2007.
The DMR Eastern Division has witnessed the biggest increase in burglary in the recession years, up 96 per cent to 2,392 crimes last year.
Of the six Garda divisions in Dublin, DMR South Central and DMR North Central witnessed 6 per cent and 18 per cent decreases in burglaries respectively.
The biggest decrease in burglary trends was witnessed in Westmeath; down 44 per cent to 340 crimes last year.
Outside Dublin, the highest increases in burglary rates were seen in: Cork North up 61 per cent, Laois-Offaly up 47 per cent and Wexford up 43 per cent.
The CSO crime figures are compiled from raw data supplied to the agency by the Garda. The CSO has in recent years expressed concern at the accuracy of the data, specifically that about one in five crimes reported to the Garda are not recorded for counting.
However, having ceased publishing data for a brief period it resumed two years ago and has said it continues to work with the Garda to address some lingering problems.
The Garda has said burglary rates in the first six months of this year fell by as much as 25 per cent. However, such swings are not uncommon in the quarterly or six-month crime trend comparisons.
It is only when data for the full year becomes available next spring that the true trends for 2016 become apparent.