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Friday 29 August 2014

Kidnappings and child abduction cases on the rise

Tom Brady, Security Editor

Published 01/04/2014 | 02:30

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Deputy Garda Commisioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Deputy Garda Commisioner Noirin O'Sullivan

A RISE in false imprisonment and child abduction cases was responsible for a huge increase in kidnappings in the past year, according to the latest figures.

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Kidnapping was one of three out of the 14 crime categories that were up when compared to the previous year.

The report, published by the Central Statistics Office on the annualised totals for 2013, show that kidnappings increased by 17.8pc in 2013 – while theft was up by 3.3pc and homicide offences by 1.3pc.

A drop in the other 11 categories ranged from a 0.2pc decline in robberies and extortion, to a 17.1pc drop in public order offences.

Interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said last night that the decreases reflected the hard work of gardai.

She said it would not have been possible without the close partnership they enjoyed with communities.

She warned it was "absolutely vital" that the force take every step to maintain and enhance those connections to ensure the communities were kept safe.

Ms O'Sullivan said gardai knew crimes such as burglary, property damage and public order were a major concern for people.

That was why they had put operations such as the anti-burglary initiative, Fiacla, in place and she said it was pleasing to see a 7.2pc reduction in house break-ins.

Fiacla was launched in February 2012 and has resulted in over 8,000 arrests and criminal charges.

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Ms O'Sullivan said the 1.3pc increase in homicide was due to a rise in the number of dangerous driving incidents resulting in death and she emphasised the need for the gardai, the Road Safety Authority and the public to keep working together to make the roads safer.

Serious organised crime and subversive-related offences were down by 9.9pc and 5.4pc respectively.

This is being attributed to specific efforts to curb the threats being posed by the two groups.

However, the commissioner warned that they must constantly monitor emerging crime patterns so that targeted measures were ready to be implemented.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said it was clear that the many arrests and prosecutions under Fiacla provided definitive evidence that the criminals preying on householders were coming under huge pressure and that the garda operations were succeeding.

He noted that while fraud was down by 13.9pc and robbery by 0.2pc, the number of theft offences had increased by 2,552 cases, or 3.3pc.

Mr Shatter said this trend was being addressed by a number of targeted garda operations, alongside awareness-raising and crime prevention work with the community and, in particular, with business and retail interests.

However, Fianna Fail's justice spokesman, Niall Collins, said the figures emphasised the need for greater investment in community policing.

He accused Mr Shatter of completely undermining community policing through his "slash and burn" approach to local garda stations, his decision to shut down specialised garda units in certain districts and the failure to address gaps in the garda vehicle fleet and fill vacant posts.

Irish Independent

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