Satisfaction at how quickly gardaí respond to incidents dropped by 3% last year to 60%.
While most people (67%) are satisfied with the service provided by An Garda Síochana, the number who were satisfied in 2015 was 70%.
The 2016 Garda Public Attitude Survey found that half of those surveyed felt the police force was effective in tackling crime, down from 57% in 2015.
While 59% thought that the garda presence in local areas was insufficient, 35% reported that gardaí patrolled their area regularly. There was greater awareness of patrols in Munster (40%) and Connaught/Ulster (32%)
More women (62%) than men (56%) felt that the garda presence was not sufficient in their local areas, and victims of crime were more likely to believe a greater presence was needed.
At a media briefing yesterday, the assistant garda commissioner, John O’Driscoll, said more gardaí and civilian staff were being recruited and that this would be reflected positively in future surveys.
The head of garda analaysis services, Dr Gurchand Singh, said awareness of garda presence improved from 33% to 36% last year.
Dr Singh said there had been a steady rise in satisfaction with the service provided by An Garda Síochána to local communities, from 62% to 71% last year.
“Ideally, we would have liked the rate to be higher, but the trend is going in the right direction,” he said.
Despite a number of high-profile garda controversies, 88% of people had a high-to-medium level of trust in An Garda Síochána. Trust in the gardaí has remained stable over the last two years.
However, most (51%) disagreed that it was a world-class service. When asked whether the organisation was well-managed, views were split — 42% agreed and 42% disagreed, while 16% did not know.
The survey, carried out by Amárach Research for An Garda Siochána, measures the views of 6,000 people over the last two years.
The research is conducted quarterly, with a national representative sample of 1,500 per quarter.
It found fewer people were victims of crime last year. There was a 3% drop in the victimisation rate to the 8% recorded last year.
A total of 493 of those surveyed were victims of crime and 60 were victims of more than one crime.
Burglary remains the most reported crime, followed by robbery from a property or car.
There has been an increase in the reporting of fraud offences (20%), and theft from a person (21%), over the last two years.
More people are reporting crime — 79% of crime victims reported an incident to gardaí, up from 75% in 2015. Overall, 57% of victims were happy with how gardaí handled their case last year.
Asked about their experience of reporting a crime, 43% said they were given a record number on Pulse, the garda computer system, an increase of 9% on 2015.
Also, 41% were given information on victim helplines and services, compared to 33% in the last survey.
More than three out of four (77%) people still feel crime nationally is a very serious or serious problem, but perceptions of crime locally, as a very serious or serious problem, fell from 31% to 24% over the last two years. Those aged 55 and over were more likely to view national crime as a very serious problem, compared to younger age groups.
For the first time, the survey measured fear of crime and found that it had decreased from 43%, at the start of 2016, to 32% by the year’s end.
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