More than a third of all Garda stations report increased crime levels in 2020

Almost 37,000 fewer offences recorded nationwide than previous year

More than a third of all Garda stations recorded an increase in crime levels last year, despite a significant overall reduction in crime nationally due to Covid-19 restrictions.

An analysis of the latest CSO crime figures for 2020 show 198 out of the country’s 564 Garda stations had a higher level of crime last year compared to 2019.

Such stations bucked the general trend as overall crime rates dropped by 17 per cent nationally during 2020 as criminal activity was impacted by restrictions on people’s movement to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Almost 37,000 fewer offences were recorded nationwide than the previous year with sizeable falls in crime levels across the vast majority of common offences with the exception of drugs.

Crime data based on the Garda's PULSE system show four Dublin stations – Ronanstown, Cabra, Coolock and Clontarf – accounted for the biggest increases in actual numbers of reported crimes.

Almost 370 more offences were recorded in the west Dublin suburb of Ronanstown last year as crime levels rose by 13 per cent to 3,176 with the increase almost entirely driven by drug offences which more than doubled to 942.

In Cabra, drugs were also the main reason for a 28 per cent increase in crime in the area in 2020, although figures show a rise in thefts and public order offences also contributed to 219 additional crimes being reported last year.

Rates

Crime rates in Coolock were up 8 per cent and by 12 per cent in Clontarf as the number of crimes increased by 219 and 160 respectively.

Among Garda stations in cities and towns outside Dublin, one of the largest increases in crime rates was in Mountmellick, Co Laois where the number of reported offences was up 30 per cent to 348.

Other large stations to report rising crime levels were New Ross (+16 per cent), Mayfield and Gurranabraher, Cork (both +9 per cent), Mayorstone Park, Limerick (+8 per cent), Clonmel (+5 per cent) and Kells (+5 per cent).

Unsurprisingly, the most significant reductions in crime were recorded in Garda stations in Dublin city centre which were linked to fewer people travelling into the city for shopping and socialising due to the closure of most businesses for lengthy periods in 2020.

The most dramatic drop in crime levels was recorded in the city’s Bridewell station where over 4,700 fewer crimes were reported last year compared to 2019 – an annual decrease of 56 per cent.

Closure

The decline was largely due to the closure of courts for most non-essential cases and related offences such as breaches of court orders and offences committed in custody.

The country’s busiest Garda station – Pearse Street – recorded over 3,100 fewer crimes in 2020 as the number of reported incidents fell by 31 per cent to just over 10,200.

The station which covers the Grafton Street shopping district and the city's main nightlife areas saw the number of thefts more than halved while there was also a sharp drop in assaults.

Over 2,000 fewer crimes were reported in Store Street – the main Garda station in the north inner city – with the drop largely attributable to a reduction in thefts.

The overall number of crimes recorded in Store Street was down 23 per cent last year to just over 9,436.

Outside the capital, one of the biggest reductions in crime levels among the busier Garda stations was Mullingar where crime rates were down 45 per cent.

It recorded 1,112 fewer crimes last year compared to 2019 with sharp declines in the number of reported burglaries, thefts and drug offences.

Other stations where crime rates fell by over twice the national average were Carrick-on-Shannon (-37 per cent), Killarney (-36 per cent) and Naas (-35 per cent).

Annually

Crime levels at the main Garda station in Cork on Anglesea Street were down 26 per cent annually with 737 fewer crimes reported with the biggest decrease related to thefts and assault offences.

In Galway crime levels were down 20 per cent with around 800 fewer crimes reported at the city’s main station on Mill Street with the majority of the fall-off linked to a reduction in theft and public order offences.

Unlike other cities, there was an increase in public order offences in Limerick’s main Garda station at Henry Street where overall crime levels were down a more modest 8 per cent.

Garda stations in Stradbally, Co Laois and Delvin, Co Westmeath recorded some of the biggest reductions in crime levels anywhere in the Republic with the number of offences down over 80 per cent due to the respective cancellations of the annual Electric Picnic and Body and Soul music festivals last year and associated drug offences.

The Co Tipperary village of Templederry, which is located between Nenagh and Thurles, had the only Garda station in the country last year where not a single crime was recorded.