Revealed: crime figures show middle-class suburbs hit by wave of public order offences
Rates fall but remain a problem around country
Published 30/11/2015 | 02:30
Public order offences are more prevalent in Donnybrook in Dublin 4 - one of the country's most affluent addresses - than in Finglas, Clondalkin or Ballyfermot.
The crime data revealed today gives a lie to stereotypes about particular areas of towns, cities or counties.
The Donnybrook area, which includes Ranelagh and Clonskeagh, recorded a relatively high rate of public order offences per head of population, compared to less affluent suburbs.
And Galway city has a lower rate than Ballinasloe or Kilconnell, while the gourmet capital of Ireland - Kinsale - has the highest rate in Cork county. This is outside of the city centre areas covered by Anglesea Street and the Bridewell garda stations.
Public order offending ranges from drunkenness and violent disorder to trespass, prostitution and begging.
It also includes brothel-keeping, collecting money without a permit and indecency.
Offences have fallen in recent years, but it remains an issue across the country, particularly at weekends after pubs and clubs close.
Among the reasons cited for the decline in offences in recent years is a drop in the number of special-exemption orders granted by District Courts to allow pubs serve alcohol to 2.30am.
This has resulted in less late-night drinking and is believed to be among the reasons for the drop in the number of offences being recorded.
But statistics provided by An Garda Síochána to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that in the first six months of 2015, some 7,552 offences were recorded.
And public order offences are not confined to our main cities - new data reveals that Kerry holds the dubious honour of having the highest county rate.
The official crime figures show that 354 offences have been recorded in the first half of the year, which is the equivalent of 241 per 100,000 population.
In Kerry, the highest rates are in Killarney (475), followed by Listowel (450) and Tralee (403).
The next-ranked town, Dingle, has a much lower rate of 215.
A breakdown at country level, meanwhile, shows the wide disparity in offences across the country.
It shows that after Kerry, the next top-ranking counties are Kilkenny (210), Limerick (209), Galway (192), Waterford (188) and Dublin (185).
The county with the lowest number of public order offences is Kildare, with 69 per 100,000 population.
Roscommon is the second lowest-ranked county with 73 per 100,000, followed by Offaly and Meath, which have 80 each.
The data is based on crime recorded in 563 garda sub-districts and a breakdown of rates in each sub-district shows that busy city-centre stations record the highest number of offences.
The top ranked sub-district is Pearse Street in Dublin, where the rate is 3,903 per 100,000.
It is followed by Anglesea Street in Cork with 2,569 and Store Street in Dublin with 2,567.
Number four in the list is Bundoran in Co Donegal, where the offence rate is 943 per 100,000.
The Irish Independent analysis comes after Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan announced late last week that 600 gardaí will be recruited in 2016 to increase the force's strength.
A visual analysis, including maps setting out the crime rates in each county, has been compiled by Ordnance Survey Ireland on its GeoHive web portal and is available through independent.ie.
The data is based on crime figures recorded by An Garda Síochána and provided to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for the first six months of 2015.
It is made available by the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) on Ireland's Open Data Portal. The country is divided into 563 garda sub-districts and small area population statistics from the 2011 Census were used to calculate the population per sub-district.
This allows the crime rate for offences to be calculated. For example, Carlow town has a population of 28,105 and 48 burglaries were recorded in the first six months - a rate of 171 per 100,000 population.
By comparison, the population of Tullow is 6,304 and 33 burglaries were recorded - a rate of 523 per 100,000 population.
A relatively high number of offences can skew the figures in areas of small populations. For example, Dublin Airport has a population of just 407, but 23 public order offences were recorded - a rate of 5,651 per 100,000 population. For this reason, it is excluded.
It is also important to note that the population figures, although the most recent, date from 2011. Growth in population expected since then would revise the crime rate in some areas.
Interactive maps created in the GeoHive application from Ordnance Survey Ireland are available at independent.ie and geohive.ie.