Surging unemployment will inevitably lead to an increase in crime, it was warned today.
International research has shown a link between the two, especially a hike in burglaries, according to the Crime Victims Helpline.
Unemployment stands at a staggering 11%, with economists predicting it could rise to around 14% next year.
Maeve Ryan, Crime Victims Helpline service co-ordinator, said people hit by the downturn could turn to criminal behaviour.
“Recession and unemployment mean that most people have less money at their disposal,” Ms Ryan said.
“The majority of people will deal with this by cutting expenditure and trying to cope in different ways.
“But there will be an inevitable rise in theft, robbery and burglary.”
Figures released earlier this year revealed thefts in 2008 jumped 1,571 to 76,789, while burglaries rose to 24,624 from 23,566.
Ms Ryan said the rise in unemployment will also see a greater number of people falling victim to crime and said the helpline was more vital than ever.