Robberies up but gardai winning the war on gangs
Latest figures show fall in crime
A HUGE increase in robberies in the first three months of the year was revealed yesterday -- but gangland-related crimes were well down on last year.
The figures, published by the Central Statistics Office, show that crime is down in all but one of 14 categories for the first quarter.
Homicides -- which include murder, manslaughter and dangerous driving causing death -- fell by 28pc, down from 25 to 18. But murders increased by one to 16, of which seven were gangland related.
A garda operation to reduce the number of burglaries, following recorded rises in figures in the past, paid dividends as the number dropped from 6,343 to 6,165.
But robberies from the person were up by more than half from 309 to 478.
Burglaries, theft and robberies are bulk crimes, which largely influence the overall crime totals and also have a greater impact on more members of the public. Thefts were also down from 18,670 to 18,132, with the decrease particularly evident in the taking of vehicles and related offences, although thefts from the person were up by almost 15pc.
Robberies increased by 24pc from 676 to 840, although raids on cash-in-transit vans, banks, post offices and shops were all down.
False imprisonment offences fell by 30pc and human trafficking by half, while assaults causing harm, poisoning and other assaults all recorded significant drops.
Sexual offences dropped by almost 6pc from 449 to 423, with rape down from 114 to 105, although sexual assaults were up by one.
Arson attacks were fewer, down from 746 to 557, while public order offences decreased by 11pc, from 13,773 to 12,257.
Gangland-related crime, such as discharging a firearm, possession of firearms and other offensive weapons, were all down significantly, totalling an overall drop of 11pc. The importation of drugs was halved during the three months while possession of drugs was also down, but cultivating or manufacturing drugs increased by a fifth, from 53 to 64 offences.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said the figures showed that the outstanding work of the gardai was having a positive effect -- but there were no grounds for complacency.
He said he and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy were determined that efforts to tackle crime would not be eased.
Mr Ahern particularly welcomed the reductions in the homicide and sexual offence figures. He pointed out that gardai had published their policy on the investigation of sexual crime, including child abuse, and he hoped this would encourage more victims of such crimes to come forward.
While the drug statistics were encouraging, Mr Ahern said he was concerned about the so-called headshops. And he confirmed he was finalising proposals to bring to the Government in the next week or so to ensure the full weight of the criminal justice system was brought to bear on those trading in "legal highs".