Figures issued today by the Central Statistics Office have shown a 5.5% reduction in crime rates last year. These figures also show that there has been in a reduction in 10 of the 14 crime groups for which figures are given over the previous year.
This reduction has been welcomed by Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter T.D. These latest statistics reflect the overall positive impact the Gardaí are having on crime.
The number of incidents of recorded crime report as per the report in 2011 was 258,161 and in 2012 was 243,896. The rising number of burglary incidents also started to reduce in 2011, coinciding with the introduction of Operation Fiacla.
The number of burglaries in the last quarter of 2012 is down 11% from the same quarter in 2011. There is also a welcome reduction of 15.8% in aggravated burglaries between 2011 and 2012. Robbery and theft offences also decreased by 3.9% and 0.6% respectively for the full year of 2012.
Operation Fiacla is intelligence driven and, as part of that operation, specific burglary initiatives have been implemented in each Garda Region to target suspect offenders. As of end February 2013, 4,226 persons have been arrested and 2,327 persons have been charged under Operation Fiacla.
Minister Shatter has commented on the figures, noting with concern that there has been an increase in the number of homicides in 2012, and condemned those involved in a series of gangland crime related killings during the course of the year, “In the 12 month period ending June 2012 homicides were down by 17%.
“The increase recorded during the last six months of 2012 reflects the consequences of gang warfare and I am pleased that charges are now pending in respect of a number of individuals.
“In this context, it is important to acknowledge the considerable success the Gardaí have had in bringing prosecutions and disrupting organised criminal activity, despite the many challenges faced by the Gardaí in investigating these killings. We should also not lose sight of the fact that homicide numbers remain substantially lower than they were a number of years ago”.
The CSO report notes that in the period 2004 to 2012 homicide offences reached a peak in 2006 with 138 recorded offences and have since fallen to 66 in 2011, rising to 78 in 2012.
While homicide offences increased (up 18.2%), assault and related offences decreased (down 10.3%), and there was small increase in sexual offences recorded (up 2.2%).
Public order and damage to property offences are also down (by 10.8% and 8.3% respectively), as are drug offences (down 6.9%), kidnapping offences (down 10.1%) and weapons and explosives offences (down 13.6%).
The reduction in drug offences by 6.9% is accompanied by Garda seizures of drugs during 2012 to an estimated value of €100m. The very substantial seizures are a welcome example of the effective targeting by An Garda Síochána of the drug gangs.