Decrease in drug and drink-drive offences

Justice Minister Alan Shatter praised gardaí for the reduction in overall crime
Justice Minister Alan Shatter praised gardaí for the reduction in overall crime

Overall crime levels have fallen 8% in the 12 months to June, with the number of reported crimes down in 12 of 14 main categories, including burglaries, drugs, and public order offences.

The CSO figures show large decreases in several categories of crime including drug offences (-12.6%), dangerous or negligent acts, which include drink driving (-15.6%), and burglaries (-8.9%).

Public order offences were down 14.6% while reductions were also recorded in weapons and explosives offences (-13.9%), sexual offences (-7.9%) damage to property (-9.4%), and white collar crime (-10.4%)

However, there was a slight increase in the number of reported thefts — up 0.8%, or 628, to 77,022.

There was a 1.5% increase in homicide offences, due to an increase in the number of dangerous driving causing death offences. The 48 recorded murders and manslaughters represented a decrease of three on the same period in 2012.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter praised gardaí for the reduction in overall crime, claiming the figures show gardaí were delivering a first class policing service despite budgetary constraints.

Mr Shatter said he particularly welcomed the drop in reported burglaries because of the impact such crime had on communities and individual householders.

He attributed the decrease to the sustained Garda drive against burglars under Operation Fiacla, which focused on identifying and targeting mobile gangs involved in such crime.

Mr Shatter said 6,329 people had been arrested under Operation Fiacla up to Aug 31, with 3,541 individuals facing charges for related burglary offences.

He noted substantial falls in incidents of robberies on cash or goods in transit, weapons and explosives offences, and drugs offences.

He also alluded to a 15% drop in the number of motorists driving over the legal alcohol limit and a 29% fall in motorists driving under the influence of drugs.

Although Mr Shatter has faced criticism from Road Safety Authority chairman Gay Byrne over the policing of road traffic legislation, Mr Shatter said Garda enforcement remained “extensive and determined”.

However, Mr Shatter expressed concern about an increase in the number of reported thefts, particularly in relation to 33% increase in thefts from the person — a factor linked to the phenomenon of mobile phone theft. Mr Shatter said new legislation to allow for the creation of a DNA database would provide invaluable assistance to gardaí in tackling crime.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the intensive work being carried out by members of the force was having a real and tangible effect on the quality of life in communities across the country.

The figures show seven of the 10 busiest Garda stations for reported crime are in Dublin, with Pearse St recording the most — 5,243 crimes in the first six months.

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