17% rise in violent property crime

Violent property crime has risen sharply, with a 17% increase in offences in the last year, Garda figures show.

The latest report by the Garda Commissioner said the “increases are evident in robbery from the person, robbery from an establishment and aggravated burglary incidents”.

All such cases involve violence, in some cases, significant violence, being inflicted on the victim or victims.

Senior officers are concerned at the rise and sources have said they are targeting gangs and known repeat offenders, although there are constraints in terms of overtime for such operations.

The commissioner’s report, sent to the Policing Authority, shows that the strong growth in violent property offences comes at a time when the overall number of property crimes (the bulk being non-violent) is down 3% in the last year.

This includes a 15% reduction in the Eastern Region, a 5% drop in the South Eastern Region and a 4% fall in Dublin. The Southern Region was the only area that reported a rise in property crime, up by 12%.

The report also details a 10% reduction in reported incidents of criminal damage, but a 4% rise in reported public order incidents.

The commissioner’s report stressed the figures are provisional and the official data is published by the CSO.

CSO crime statistics published last month show a sharp rise in recorded sex offences, assaults, robberies and weapon offences.

The CSO, which only resumed publication of garda figures last March, the first time in nine months, stressed that the figures were being published with a heavy caution to reflect their continuing concerns over of the quality of Garda data.

The commissioner’s report also details recent incidents involving members:

  • On May 11 in Ballincollig, Co Cork, a mobile patrol observed a fire at a hair salon and, after alerting the fire brigade, determined an occupant was living above it and rescued the person. As they tried to extinguish the fire themselves, they discovered the owner of the hair salon lived at the rear of the premises and was unaware of the fire — and assisted her escape. The report said: “Garda members were unable to extinguish the fire as they were overcome by flames and smoke, however, due to their swift actions, both occupants were safely evacuated.”;
  • On May 23, a mobile patrol in a housing estate in Carlow spotted two males acting suspiciously by a car. In a search, they discovered ten large packages wrapped in cling film, containing MDMA, Ketamine and heroin, with an estimated street value of around €210,000;
  • On May 30, Dublin traffic gardaí were called to a toll booth on the M50 where a man was cutting a locking mechanism with an angle grinder. The man became aggressive and “attempted to cause injury” to the gardaí. There was a struggle and the gardaí successfully handcuffed and arrested the man;
  • On May 13, an elderly male entered Gurranabraher Garda Station in Cork with significant breathing difficulties. The member on duty gave medical assistance, stabilised him and sought assistance. He was taken to hospital from where he passed on a message thanking the garda. “The man said that he would not be alive if it was not for the gardaí, who could ‘not have done enough to help him’.”;
  • On May 27, armed officers from Special Tactics and Operations Command units attended a lengthy barricade incident in Lucan, west Dublin. A male had doused himself in petrol and was threatening self-harm. The incident was resolved and the man surrendered without causing harm to himself or anyone else.

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