70% of property crimes going unsolved in Ireland

Seven out of 10 of the most serious crimes against property are going unsolved with non-detection rates in some Garda districts of over 80%.
70% of property crimes going unsolved in Ireland

New figures show only four out of the country’s 96 Garda districts solved more than half of all robberies, burglaries and theft in their area during 2015.

They also reveal that offenders have little chance of being caught for the large majority of such crimes in most other parts of Ireland.

The Irish Examiner has obtained a breakdown of detection rates at Garda district level for the three main offences involving property — robbery, burglary and theft.

Overall, gardaí are only successful in solving about 30% of these cases on average based on official crime figures for 2013-2015. (The figures for last year related to crimes recorded to the end of September 2015.)

The main criteria for classifying an offence as “detected” is when criminal proceedings have been commenced against at least one suspected offender.

The figures reveal the performance of gardaí stationed in 96 districts in catching offenders for such crimes.

In 2015, gardaí based at the five stations in the Leixlip district of Co Kildare had the worst detection rate for robbery, burglary and theft with fewer than 14% of cases solved. The district covers large towns including Maynooth and Celbridge.

Independent TD for Kildare, Catherine Murphy, said the figures were a cause for concern as burglaries and theft were one of the few categories of crime which have been increasing in recent years.

Ms Murphy said she firmly believed there was a clear link between detection rates and Garda manpower levels as Kildare has the lowest number of gardaí of any county on a per capita basis.

“The annual policing plan published by An Garda Síochána is a work of fiction as it does not take into account demographic changes by putting more gardaí into areas where there have been large increases in population like Kildare,” she said.

Most of the districts with the lowest detection rates are located in Dublin and counties surrounding the capital. They include Clondalkin, Balbriggan and Dun Laoghaire as well as Baltinglass, Co Wicklow and Ashbourne and Trim, Co Meath. Other areas with detection rates of 20% or less include the two Galway districts of Clifden and Salthill.

Two of the four districts where over 50% of crimes are solved are located in Kerry — Tralee and Listowel.

Gardaí based at the nine stations in the Tralee district, which includes Dingle and Castleisland, had the best detection rate in the country last year with offenders apprehended for 56% of all property-related crime.

Detection rates in urban areas are not universally lower than rural locations as gardaí based in two city centre locations in Dublin and Cork — Store Street and Anglesea Street — both made arrests for more than half of all robberies, burglaries and theft within their districts in the first nine months of last year.

In the past three years, gardaí at Anglesea Street have the best record, solving on average more than 56% of all robberies, burglaries and thefts in its area.

A Garda spokesperson said the force was introducing measures designed to improve detection rates, including an enhanced investigator-training programme and standardisation of investigative practices and procedures as well as an increased use of data analytics.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up