Murders, drug offences and robberies on the rise

Murders, manslaughter, drugs offences and robberies have all increased this year, official crime figures revealed today.

Thefts, burglaries and extortion attempts also went up in the first three months of the year along with weapons and explosives offences.

But the crime report from the Central Statistics Office revealed sex attacks, kidnappings and fraud have seen a significant drop.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said significant work was needed to reverse the upwards crime trend and revealed a series of meetings are being held with the country’s chief superintendents to explore ways of tackling the rise.

“My senior management team and I will continue a programme of crime performance meetings in every region to monitor how we are addressing challenges at a local level,” he said.

“Our focused work will continue and we remain committed to working with the community and other agencies to ensure the safety and security of people throughout the country.”

According to the CSO, in the year to the end of April, 85 people were the victim of murder or manslaughter, compared to 67 in the previous 12 months.

In the first three months of this year, 13 people have been murdered and one person has died by manslaughter.

In the year from April 2007, 1,311 people were the victims of personal robbery while there were 24,408 reported incidents of burglary aggravated and non-aggravated.

Sex attacks continued to drop, following the trend from last year, with 271 in the first three months and 1,248 in the year to the end of April.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern accepted there were disturbing trends in the report.

“The overall picture the figures paint serves to reinforce the Government’s determination to continue with its programme of providing unprecedented resources – both financial and legislative – for those in the front-line fighting crime.

He added: “Obviously the Gardaí and other agencies of the criminal justice system cannot deal alone with all aspects of crime in our society.”

The CSO report said other crimes which have also gone up include public order offences and murder threats.

Charlie Flanagan, Fine Gael justice spokesman, said serious crime was soaring under the Government.

“The latest CSO crime figures paint a grim picture of rising serious crime and show gangland is stronger than ever,” Mr Flanagan said.

“There were significant increases in the key indicators of gangland activity for murders, drug and firearms offences.”

Pat Rabbitte, Labour Party justice spokesman, said: “These figures will be a sharp reminder to new Justice Minister Dermot Ahern as to the extent of the challenge that he now faces.

The Garda Commissioner urged the public to take steps to protect themselves and their homes from burglary and theft.

“The figures published by the CSO today show an increase in the crimes of burglary, theft and robbery which have a very real impact on the quality of life in our community,” he said.

“Gardaí will continue to target the people who are committing these crimes with intelligence-led, focused operations.”

He branded robberies opportunistic crimes and warned people to ensure their property and homes are not vulnerable to criminals looking for an easy profit.

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