Number targeted by violent theft has trebled in past four years

New CSO report debunks view that rural areas are impacted more by crime

Younger people were also much more likely to be targeted in ‘personal crimes’. Photograph: iStock

Younger people were also much more likely to be targeted in ‘personal crimes’. Photograph: iStock

 

The number of people targeted in personal crimes almost doubled in the last four years, with violent thefts and physical assaults trebling. However, household crimes like burglary have dropped significantly.

There was also clear evidence that most crimes were not being reported to the Garda, with 39 per cent of people victimised in personal crime reporting some or all of it to the Garda and 61 per cent not making any report.

A new Crime and Victimisation report by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also debunks the view that rural areas are impacted more significantly by crime.

Overall, three quarters of adults felt “very safe” or “fairly safe” walking in their local area at night. However, 36 per cent of women felt “a little unsafe” or “very unsafe” compared to 13 per cent of men. More than two thirds of people, 68 per cent, said the Garda was “very effective” or “quite effective” while 10 per cent believed they were “not effective at all”.

Most concerning for the Garda was the extent to which crimes against the person have increased so significantly since the survey was last conducted in 2015.

Last year, for example, 1.7 per cent of people nationally reported they had fallen victim to a violent theft in the previous 12 months, more than three times the level reported in 2015.

Some 1.7 per cent of people also said they had been physically assaulted at some point in the past year, three times the number recorded in the 2015 survey.

The most common crimes people fell victim to were non-violent thefts and frauds. Some 3.9 per cent of people over the age of 18 years said they had fallen victim to a non-violent theft, up from 2.4 per cent in 2014. Furthermore, in 2019 3.9 per cent of people had been victimised in a fraud, also up from 2.4 per cent four years earlier.

Overall, almost one in 10 people – 9.7 per cent – last year reported falling victim to a violent or non-violent theft, an assault or a fraud at some time in the previous 12 months, compared to 5.3 per cent when the survey was conducted in 2015.

Burglaries

Men were slightly more likely to fall victim to personal crime than women; 10 per cent of men compared with nine per cent of women. Sexual offending was not dealt with in the survey as it is reviewed in other research.

Some 2.7 per cent of households in 2019 reported being burgled at some point in the previous 12 months, down from 3.2 per cent in 2014. And 1.7 per cent of households reported falling victim to vandalism, down from 2.2 per cent four years earlier.

The data shows the burglary rate in Dublin was very significantly higher than anywhere else in the country, despite the often-repeated claim rural Ireland suffered from a serious burglary problem. In Dublin, 6.1 per cent of households last year reported being burgled. This was far higher than the next worst hit area, the South-East, where 3.6 per cent of households reported a burglary. In the west of Ireland just 1.8 per cent of households reported being burgled.

While 21 per cent of farm households reported falling victim to crime, the vast majority of that offending, 18 per cent, related to trespassing on lands. Less than one half of one per cent – meaning fewer than one in 200 farms – report the theft of a vehicle. And two per cent of farms reported theft of farm machinery. Just one per cent of farms reported theft of livestock.

Younger people were also much more likely to be targeted in “personal crimes” with 14 per cent of people in the 18-29 year category being victimised compared to five per cent of people in the 60 years and older age group

Of those people who did not report the personal crimes they had been subjected to to the Garda, 35 per cent said they did not believe the crime was serious enough or they had suffered no loss. A further 24 per cent of people who did not report crimes to the Garda said they had reported it themselves.

Some 38 per cent believed the Garda would not or could not do anything about the crimes and so they did not report the offences. A further two per cent of people said they did not go to the Garda because they feared reprisal.