Fewer victims of crime and more reporting, survey shows

Crime victim rates have fallen significantly in the last three years and more victims are reporting to gardaí, a survey shows.

But four out of 10 victims say they are dissatisfied with the Garda response.

The Garda Public Attitudes Survey 2017 shows that while trust and satisfaction rates in gardaí remain high, there has been a sharp fall in those who believe the organisation is well managed.

The survey again shows that three-quarters of people believe national crime is a serious or very serious problem — but only one in five say the same about crime locally.

The survey — carried out by Amarach Research for An Garda Síochána — found:

- Victimisation rates fell from 11% in 2015, to 8% in 2016 and to 6% in 2017

- The rates were highest in Dublin (10.7%) and lowest in rural areas (4.3%)

- Victim reporting rates rose from 75%, to 79%, to 84% in the same time period

- 41% of victims said they were dissatisfied with the garda response (same as 2015, but down from 43% in 2016)

The most common crimes were: burglary (25%); criminal damage (18%); assault (12%) and theft (10%) — with no gender difference.

There has been a significant rise in the reporting of assaults (71% to 81% between 2015 and 2017), bicycle theft (57% to 76%), fraud (42% to 73%), theft from the person (33% to 82%) and online fraud (27% to 68%).

Some 22% of victims reported as being very satisfied with the Garda response (down from 28% in 2015), while 36% said they were quite satisfied (up from 31%).

The survey showed that 17% of people said there were very dissatisfied (down from 19%) and 24% said there were quite dissatisfied (up from 22% in 2015).

As regards perception of crime, 74% said it was a serious or very serious problem nationally (78% in 2015). In contrast, 20% said the same regarding local crime (down from 31% in 2015).

Women and older adults were more likely to see national crime as a major problem. Some 52% of people worry about becoming a victim of crime (54% in 2017). Women were more likely to have a fear of crime (55% compared to 49% for men). Fears are highest in Dublin (63%) and lowest in Connaught/Ulster (42%).

Respondents said their top five (out of 11) policing priorities were: sexual offences, human trafficking, assaults, robberies, and illegal weapons.

Some 36% of people said they were aware of local Garda patrols — but 55% said they were not aware — similar to 2016. In addition, 57% said there was not enough of a Garda presence (down from 63%) — with the rate higher among females (60% versus 54%) and highest in Dublin (71%).

Satisfaction rates with the gardaí stood at 76% in 2017, similar to 2016, while trust remains very high at 89%, up from 87% in 2015.

Scores for being friendly/helpful are also very high (86%, up from 81% in 2015), with 64% believing the gardaí were community focused (up from 61%).

But there is a drop in those believing the organisation is well managed (from 47% to 35%) and those who think the gardaí provide a world-class service (38% to 35%).

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