Theft and kidnappings up but overall crime falls

 Martin Callinan: Heartened by hard work of gardaí.

Theft and kidnappings became more common in the 12 months to the end of September, despite an overall 7% reduction in crime levels.

The latest CSO figures show the annual number of recorded crimes fell below 250,000 for the first time in many years in the third quarter of 2013.

There were decreases in 12 of the 14 main offence categories.

A total of 231,029 crimes (excluding road traffic offences) were recorded from Oct 2012 to Sept 2013 — a drop of 7.1%. However, there was a 3.6% rise in theft offences — the most commonly reported crime.

The increase is largely attributable to a 32% rise over the past year in thefts from a person — mostly related to the theft of smartphones — as well as a 6% jump in reported cases of shoplifting.

However, there was a 13% drop in crimes relating to the theft from or stealing of vehicles.

Although less statistically significant, there was also a 5% increase in the number of reported kidnappings — up five to 106.

There has been a noticeable increase in kidnappings in Cork, with seven reported incidents so far this year compared to just one in the corresponding period in 2012.

The number of kidnappings in counties Waterford and Wicklow has also risen.

On a positive note, there was a 10% reduction in burglaries and a 5% drop in robberies, as well as a 17% fall in fraud and other white-collar crimes.

However, some areas bucked the trend, with increases in burglaries in Tipperary and Westmeath, and higher incidents of robberies in Roscommon, Longford, Galway, Laois, Offaly, and Cork.

The CSO figures also show that there has been a sharp reduction in the number of public order offences — down 16% — with a similar fall in dangerous or negligent acts, which mostly relate to drink-driving offences.

The number of recorded drug offences is down almost 7% nationally, though significant increases have been reported in counties Kildare, Kerry, and Clare, while criminal damage offences fell about 11%.

The number of homicide offences including cases of murder and manslaughter remained the same at 73 over the 12-month period. There was also a 2.4% reduction in sexual offences.

More than half of all recorded crime occurs in Dublin.

Commenting on the figures, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he was heartened that the hard work of gardaí was reflected in falling crime levels.

He said he was particularly pleased by the significant decrease in recorded burglaries and fraud and deception offences, but warned against complacency.

He said that the increase in theft and related offences had shown that Garda initiatives such as the recent crime prevention day which highlighted the theft of smartphones were “timely and targeted”.

Mr Callinan claimed the decrease in drugs, weapons, and explosives offences showed continuing efforts to dismantle all aspects of organised crime and subversive activity were working.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the success of Operation Fiacla by gardaí was exemplified by the reduction in burglaries and robberies. He also welcomed the overall decreases in crime figures.


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