Most crime figures down, but burglaries and fraud on the rise


NEW DATA from the Central Statistics Office for the 12-month period to the end of March shows crime figures down in almost all categories.

The data reveals burglaries and fraud-related offences were the only two out of 15 classified crime types to show any increase.

Burglaries climbed by a significant 11 per cent, with “fraud, deception and related offences” increasing by 3.5 per cent.

Controlled-drugs offences were down by 9 per cent, while “weapons and explosives offences” – made up mainly of gun crime – had fallen by 19 per cent in the year to the end of March.

Homicides fell by 24 per cent, sexual offences were down by 12 per cent and public order crime was down by 15 per cent.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter welcomed the continued fall in crime figures, saying the new data reflected well on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and his force and the measures they had put in place to combat crime.

“Notwithstanding the many pressures faced, the commissioner and his officers are clearly using their resources to good effect,” Mr Shatter said.

While noting the 52 per cent fall in the number of cases of dangerous driving leading to death and the 53 per cent fall in cases of dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm, he said he was concerned at the continued rise in burglaries.

“It is too early to see the full impact of the concerted and intelligence-led measures An Garda Síochána have put in place under Operation Fiacla, but I know these are a top priority for the commissioner and are proactively targeting prolific offenders.”

Operation Fiacla was put in place earlier this year and is aimed at gathering intelligence on gangs that travel around the country to plan and carry out burglaries.

The fall in crime continues a trend that began when the economy peaked in 2007-2008.

Gardaí believe drug crime has fallen because recreational users no longer have the money to buy drugs, especially cocaine, leading to an overall contraction in the trade. Gun crime is closely linked to drug crime and has decreased in line with the drugs trade.

Gardaí believe the most likely reason for the continued fall in public order offences is that excessive drinking in pubs and clubs has become unaffordable for many.