Fraud offences soar by 43% in the last year

Fraud offences soar by 43% in the last year
Unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone are driving the rise in fraud crime (Tim Goode/PA)

Fraud crime in Ireland has soared by 43% in the last year, which has been driven by banking and online fraud, new statistics show.

There were 16,202 fraud, deception and related offences in the second quarter of the year, an increase of 4,877 compared with 2021.

Figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also shows that there has been an increase in most categories of recorded crime.

The highest rates of increase were kidnapping and other related offences which soared by 36%, theft which rose by 23%, and attempts and threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences which increased by 21%.

Homicide offences fell by 38% over the year as did controlled drug offences, which fell by 27%, and weapons and explosives offences, which dropped by 11%.

Male victims of attempts and threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences increased by 20% from a year earlier, compared with a 6% increase in female victims.

The figures for 2020 and 2021 for some crime categories are likely to have been influenced by the public health restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19

Jim Dalton, statistician in the crime and criminal justice section, said: “Recorded crime statistics published today showed that most categories of crime were up in the 12 months to June 2022 compared with a year earlier.

“Fraud crime showed the highest rate of increase with 16,202 frauds recorded in the 12-month period compared to 11,325 a year earlier.

“This increase was largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone.

“The figures for 2020 and 2021 for some crime categories are likely to have been influenced by the public health restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19.”

There were increases in eight of the 14 categories of recorded crime compared with a year ago.

Burglary increased by 29%, while robbery, extortion and hijacking offences rose by 28%, and incidences of damage to property and to the environment increased by 16%.

An Garda Siochana conducted an analysis of cancelled Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) incidents focussing on the most serious high-risk crimes dating back to 2019.

It emerged last year that thousands of emergency 999 calls had been cancelled.

The analysis indicates that, in volume terms, the impact of these on Recorded Crime Statistics is negligible for the period in question, the CSO said.

All 141 missing Pulse incidents have since been created. In volume terms, this has a negligible effect on published crime statistics for the 21-month period in question.

On the issue of cancelled Computer Aided Dispatch incidents, Mr Dalton added: “The premature or improper cancellation of incidents on the CAD system may mean that records relating to crimes, which were reported to AGS, were not created on the Pulse system, and are therefore not counted in recorded crime statistics.

“(Gardai) has carried out an investigation which focused only on the most serious high-risk crimes.

“These mainly related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and health and missing persons, which covered the cancellation of about 6,000 incidents dating back to 2019.

“An incident can be validly cancelled, for example, if multiple calls are received for the same incident.

“Of the incidents which should not have been cancelled based on the AGS investigation of the issue, 141 would have resulted in a criminal incident being recorded on Pulse.

“All 141 missing Pulse incidents have since been created. In volume terms, this has a negligible effect on published crime statistics for the 21-month period in question.

“AGS are keeping this issue under review and any updates which impact on official crime statistics will be communicated to users.”

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