Dublin’s north inner city has highest crime rate in the State

The number of recorded offences in the area is over five times the national average

Outside Dublin the areas with above-average crime rates included Limerick, Louth, Waterford, Cork City and Westmeath. Photograph: Getty Images

Dublin’s north inner city had the highest crime rate in the State last year, with the number of recorded offences over five times the national average.

An analysis of official crime figures for 2018 highlights how the Dublin North Central Garda division is the country's top crime blackspot area on a per capita basis. The division has the smallest population of any of the State's 28 Garda divisions (some 83,200) but accounted for almost one in 10 of all crimes recorded in the State last year.

It had a crime rate of 2,571 offences per 10,000 population – considerably more than Dublin’s south inner city, which had the second highest rate at 1,585 crimes per 10,000 population.

The Dublin North Central division had the highest rate for 11 of the 14 main crime categories, including homicide, sexual offences, assaults, drug crime and public order offences, and had the second highest rate in the remaining three.


The highest rates for robberies and burglaries were recorded in the Dublin South Central division. The Cavan/Monaghan division had the highest rate for dangerous or negligent acts, which primarily relate to drink driving offences.

Dublin West, which covers suburbs including Blanchardstown, Finglas, Clondalkin and Lucan, had the third highest crime rate. However, it was significantly lower than crime in inner city areas at 539 offences per 10,000 population.

Outside the capital, areas with above-average crime rates included Limerick, Louth, Waterford, Cork City and Westmeath.

There were 18 Garda divisions nationwide with crime rates below the national average of 460 offences per 10,000.

The lowest overall crime rate was recorded in the Cork West division, at over half the national average or just 208 crimes recorded per 10,000 population. The division, which covers Bantry, Bandon, Clonakilty and Macroom, recorded the lowest level of crime for four specific categories of offences - robberies, burglaries, theft and criminal damage.

Other divisions where less than 3 per cent of the population were affected by some type of crime in 2018 were Mayo, Cork North, Donegal, Meath and Roscommon/Longford.

Homicide rate

Dublin North Central shared the highest homicide rate with Donegal, Louth and Clare with an average of four homicides per 100,000 population last year. No homicides were recorded in only two divisions – Mayo and Kilkenny/Carlow.

Despite the perception of high levels of burglaries in rural Ireland, people living in Dublin's six Garda divisions are the most likely to experience such crime, according to figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) based on data from the Garda Pulse system show. Outside the capital only Louth, Limerick and Kildare recorded burglary rates above the national average of 36 per 10,000.

Several crime categories, including robbery, theft and fraud, are predominantly associated with Garda divisions in urban areas, predominantly Dublin.

While high levels of drug offences are also recorded in the capital, there were also high levels of drug offences in Westmeath and Laois/Offaly in 2018.

Similarly, Kerry and Cavan/Monaghan had high rates of public order offences together with Garda divisions in most urban areas.

The official crime figures are collated by the CSO which publishes them “under reservation”, meaning it is still working with the Garda to improve the accuracy of the raw crime data the Garda collects.

Operation model

The number of Garda divisions is set to be reduced from 28 to 19 under An Garda Síochána’s new operation model announced by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris last month. The Garda claims the changes will deliver increased visibility of the force in communities as well as more localised services.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the new model, which had been recommended by both the Garda Inspectorate and the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, was designed to reduce bureaucracy and shift decision-making powers from Garda headquarters to the divisions.