Paul Williams: Latest CSO statistics reveal startling rise in sexual offences, assaults and burglaries
Published 19/12/2015 | 02:30
Startling increases in sexual offences, burglary, assaults and attempts to kill are revealed in the latest statistics on national crime.
However, the figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also show that the murder rate has fallen by almost 50pc in the 12 months up to the end of September.
Rape and sexual assault offences increased by 14.1pc, reflecting a consistent upward trend over the past seven years.
There were 2,262 sex offences in the 12-month period compared to 1,983 the previous year - representing an increase of 279 crimes.
Within this category, there were 512 rapes, an increase of 12.5pc, while there were 1,419 sexual assault offences, an increase of 15.7pc.
The remainder of crimes classified as 'other sexual offences' rose by 13.2pc to 172 in the same period.
Meanwhile, there were 11,189 'other assaults' - a rise of 14.4pc - and 3,353 'assault causing harm' offences, reflecting an increase of 8.5pc.
The annualised total for harassment and related offences also rose by 5.7pc to 1,513.
And the increase in burglary, theft and related offences, which are traditionally the most common type of criminal offence, appears to justify the public's concern about crime, particularly in rural areas, over the past six months.
There was a total of 28,407 burglary offences recorded up to September of this year, representing an increase of 1,660, or 6.2pc, when compared with the corresponding period ending in 2014.
When aggravated burglaries are stripped out - these are robberies where weapons and violence is used - the figures show that there were 27,494 burglaries, or 75 every day, in the year up to the end of September.
There were also 77,848 theft and related offences in the period, which was up 1.2pc on the previous year.
Last night, one of the leading campaigners on the issue of rural crime said that the latest data "vindicates" the concerns of people across the country.
John Tully, the founder of the 'Save Our Local Communities' campaign, said the overall 7.4pc increase in burglary and theft offences was "just a drop in the ocean".
"I have been travelling around the country meeting concerned community groups, and everywhere I am being told that people no longer bother reporting a burglary because they feel there is no point," Mr Tully said.
"A lot of these crime victims decide not to claim the loss on their insurance because it will only result in them being hit by inflated premiums the following year.
"So the reality is that the actual figure for thefts and burglaries are probably much higher than the stated figure, which undermines the claims by the Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner that crime levels are actually down.
"These statistics vindicate what we have been saying for the past six months," added Mr Tully.
The figures also show there was a drop of almost 10pc in robbery, extortion and hijacking offences, while weapons and explosive offences fell by just over 7pc in the same period between September 2014 and 2015.
Homicides, which account for all murder, manslaughter and dangerous driving causing death offences, were down 36pc overall.
There were a total of 54 unlawful deaths recorded between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2015, compared to 84 over the previous 12 months.
But while the actual murder rate accounted for the biggest single drop in the crime figures, there was a rise of 13.6pc in the category 'attempts of threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences'.
Of these, murder threats were up 70.4pc to 588 when compared with the same period up to 2013.
The CSO issued a health warning of sorts with the latest data, in light of a decision to suspend publication of the statistics last year after the Garda Inspectorate found that there was extensive under-reporting of crime figures by garda management.