A MASSIVE increase in burglaries over the past year has been halted by gardai, according to the latest crime figures.
The statistics show that burglaries jumped by 8pc from 25,660 to 27,703 in the year ending in September, compared with the corresponding period in 2010/11.
But they also confirm that the spiral has been curbed and is now heading downwards.
A quarterly breakdown of the figures reveal that after a substantial year on year increase in the first three months of the year, from 6,505 to 7,759, burglaries dropped from 6,018 to 5,754 in the second quarter and from 6,409 to 6,398 in the third.
The dramatic change has been attributed to Operation Fiacla, a nationwide crackdown launched by gardai in February and focusing in particular on travelling gangs that have been moving out from their bases in south and west Dublin to target houses and businesses in the commuter counties, as well as the southern and western regions.
Fiacla, and its six feeder operations, have resulted in 3,217 arrests and 1,737 charges against suspects in the courts up to the end of November.
Commenting on the figures, which were published by the Central Statistics Office yesterday, Justice Minister Alan Shatter noted they were generally very positive, with decreases in 12 out of the 14 categories, and said they indicated that gardai were making an impact on crime.
The annual figures up to September also showed a rise of over 6pc in fraud and deception.
And while homicides were down overall – as a result of a decrease in dangerous driving causing death – the number of murders and manslaughters in the 12-month period increased by three to 55.
Murders and manslaughters in the third quarter also rose from 11 to 15, compared with 2011, as a result of five organised crime-related murders in September.
During the 12 months, sexual offences dropped by 0.7pc; attempts or threats to murder and assaults fell by 9.6pc; dangerous or negligent acts such as drink driving, decreased by over 10pc; kidnapping by 10.8pc; robbery, extortion and hijacking by 6pc; and weapons and explosives offences by over 17pc, with possession of firearms figures falling by 30pc.
Property offences, such as theft from the person, increased by 40pc to 4,628, but this was offset by a fall of 21pc in other thefts and the taking of vehicles to 8,652, resulting in an overall drop in theft of 1.2pc.
Mr Shatter said, however, that thefts from the person were worrying and were continuing to be tackled through targeted garda operations.
Drugs offences fell by 7pc up to September although the amount of drugs seized was worth over €90m, equivalent to the total seized for all of 2011.
This has since increased to over €95m.
The quarterly statistics showed that sexual offences were down from 540 to 466, robberies fell from 709 to 666 and drugs offences from 4,963 to 3,925.
Public order offences also dropped from 12,652 to 11,358.