Murders and manslaughter cases dropped in 2019, but attempted murders and threats of murder have jumped.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show a significant increase in weapon offences — including explosive attacks and shootings — as well as a sharp rise in drug offences, including both sale and possession.
Reported fraud offences rose sharply in 2019, while robberies and kidnappings are down, with a slight rise in burglaries.
The CSO, publishing figures for the fourth quarter of 2019 and the full year, are again being released “under reservation” — meaning the agency still has concerns over their quality, with various reviews ongoing.
The figures show that the total number of homicides fell from 80 in 2018 to 50 in 2019, a category that includes dangerous driving causing death.
The agency said caution should be applied to interpreting last year’s total as that figure “may rise as investigations into fatal road traffic collisions conclude”.
Having said that, it shows that the number of murders fell from 40 to 35 (down 12.5%) and the number of manslaughter cases dropped from seven to four (down 43%).
The 80 homicide offences recorded in 2018 compared to 92 offences in 2017, 85 in 2016 and 83 in 2015.
In relation to key gangland indicators, the CSO figures show that:
The rise in weapons offences, including bomb attacks and shootings, reflects various gang feuds, including in Drogheda, north and west Dublin.
The increase in possession of an offensive weapon cases includes the carrying of knives.
The rise in drug offences, including importation, sale and purchasing, underlines the booming trade in cocaine, cannabis and other substances. The rise in drug offences last year is continuing a steady increase over the last four years, with a total rise of 43% since 2015.
The CSO data shows frauds rose sharply in 2019, up 26%, to 18,309.
Kidnappings overall were down 3%, due to a 29% drop in reported human trafficking cases, while abductions of a child were up 12% and false imprisonment up 2%.
Robberies were down 4%, including a 6% reduction in robberies of institutions and a 7% fall in robberies of a person — but there was a 54% jump in cash-in-transit raids.
Burglaries fell by 1%, but aggravated burglaries rose 9%. Thefts were up 2%, criminal damage up 2% and public order offences up 1%.
Elsewhere, drug driving was up 143% and prostitution offences were up 205%.