Policing praised as burglaries drop
The number of burglaries reported to gardai has fallen dramatically since the start of the year, official figures have revealed.
Break-ins have dropped by 9% to 26,295 in the year to the end of March, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said, after huge increases since the economic collapse five years ago.
The report also showed robbery, extortion and hijacking offences were down compared with the previous 12 months - a fall of almost 4% to 2,802.
Justice MInister Alan Shatter said the reduction in burglaries was mainly down to good policing.
"(It) is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of the measures which the Garda commissioner has put in place under Operation Fiacla to successfully disrupt and bring before the courts those who seek to prey on law-abiding householders," he said. Under the intelligence-led operation up to the end of May this year, 5,233 people have been arrested and 2,903 have been charged with burglary offences.
Garda commissioner Martin Callinan said the force has responded to concerns over thefts and the rise of criminal gangs. "I have always maintained that An Garda Siochana is at its most efficient when working in a targeted manner, utilising advanced analytical methodologies," he said.
"By continuing to utilise all available legislation, and developing and implementing operations and strategies aimed at targeting, dismantling and disrupting criminal networks, we will endeavour to ensure that the large reduction in crime categories that impact directly on the day-to-day life of citizens of the country continue to fall."
The CSO said overall crime figures were down in nearly every category with murders showing a small drop to 63 and sex offences down by almost 7% to 1,907. Overall recorded crime is down 8%.
Despite the improvement, especially in the area of break-ins and robberies, more and more people are being targeted in muggings, including for mobile phones. Garda records for the CSO showed a 39% rise in the number of people who were victims of personal theft, to 5,412.
Mr Shatter said he was concerned that more and more people are being targeted by muggers on the streets for their belongings and urged the public to be more aware. "The gardai alone cannot prevent mobile phone theft. This type of theft is all too easy for those intent on criminality. We are all mobile phone users and I believe a great deal can be done by each of us to ensure our phones are secure," he said.