Limerick is black spot in State for homicide and gun crime


Dublin has the highest per capita overall crime rate in the Republic, but when it comes to very serious crime including homicide and gun crime Limerick is the State's black spot.

The findings are contained in figures obtained by The Irish Times which for the first time give a breakdown of headline, or serious, crime in counties and Garda divisions across the State.

The data reveal that in the last two years the number of incidents in which firearms were discharged was five times higher in Limerick than in Dublin, the next worst affected county.

There were some 101 incidents of discharging of firearms per 100,000 population in Limerick in 2006 and 2007 combined. This compares with 20 incidents per 100,000 people in Dublin.

The Wexford/Wicklow Garda division was next with 13 cases per 100,000 over the past two years.

The number of cases of possession of firearms was also highest in Limerick, with 46 cases per 100,000. This was followed by Tipperary, with 30 cases per 100,000, and Dublin with 28 cases.

The homicide rate for the last two years has also been highest in Limerick where there were seven cases of murder and manslaughter per 100,000.

Surprisingly, Tipperary had the second highest per capita number of homicides, with six cases per 100,000 over the past two years.

While Dublin has seen the highest incidence of homicide, at 63 cases, over the past two years, it ranks third on a per capita basis, with five cases per 100,000 in the period.

Mayo is the only Garda division in the State where no homicides were reported in the last two years. The county also boasts the lowest overall crime rate in the State.

The data also reveal discrepancies in the level of Garda manpower assigned to various Garda divisions.

Dublin is the most policed area with 356 gardaí per 100,000 population. This is followed by: Sligo/Leitrim, 337 gardaí per 100,000; Cavan/Monaghan, 334; Donegal, 324; and Limerick, 322.

The least policed region is the Wexford/Wicklow Garda division with 142 gardaí per 100,000 population.

The drugs problem is worst in Dublin, with 311 cases per 100,000 of possession of drugs for sale or supply in the past two years.

This level of drug dealing detections is almost twice as high as the next worst affected area, the Laois/Offaly Garda division. In Laois/Offaly there were 172 cases per 100,000, followed by Limerick, with 171 cases per 100,000.

Away from drug dealing and gun crime, the Cavan/Monaghan Garda division has the worst record in the "assault causing harm" category, with 282 cases per 100,000.

This is followed by: Donegal, 275 cases per 100,000; Limerick, 220 cases; Longford/Westmeath, 214 cases; and Dublin, 205 cases.

The Donegal division had the highest per capita number of sexual offences, with 88 cases per 100,000. This was followed by: Waterford/Kilkenny, 79 cases; Cavan/Monaghan, 71 cases.

Dublin is the burglary black spot in the State with 1,594 cases per 100,000 population in the past two years. This was followed by: Longford/Westmeath, 1,450; and Carlow/Kildare, 1,404.

The figures have been compiled by The Irish Times after obtaining a Central Statistics Office (CSO) breakdown of headline offences for Garda divisions over the past two years.

The CSO has just taken over from the Garda in compiling crime statistics.

The per capita rate of crime for each crime category in each division has been established using a combination of the divisional crime statistics and the CSO's county population figures.