PROPERTY crime is again on the increase despite efforts by gardai to target the prime suspects in blackspot areas.
The latest figures, published by the Central Statistics Office yesterday, showed that burglaries, personal thefts and fraud offences were all up last year, compared with the previous 12 months.
The rise bucked the overall trend, which revealed an overall drop in 11 out of the 14 crime categories for 2011.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said yesterday that the overall decrease represented a substantial achievement for law enforcement and crime prevention in Ireland.
He particularly welcomed the 26.4pc reduction in the number of murders, falling from 53 to 39, and said it reflected the drop in gang-related killings, against a backdrop of significant operational and legislative measures to tackle and disrupt serious organised crime groups.
But he expressed concern at the 7pc increase in burglary and 6.3pc rise in fraud.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has already reviewed garda operations to tackle these crimes and further measures are being put in place.
Sexual offences decreased by 13.5pc to 2,052, although statistic experts pointed out that the high number for 2010 was mainly due to an ongoing review of all cases involving all alleged sexual offences reported to the gardai, and some of those had taken place previously but were since reclassified.
Murder attempts or threats, assault causing harm, poisoning and harassment were down by 1,100, or 6.2pc, while dangerous or negligent acts fell by 17.8pc.
Kidnapping and related offences dropped by 22.4pc to 104, with false imprisonment down by 12pc, abduction of people under 16 years by 35pc and human trafficking offences by 43pc.
Robberies from the person and from financial institutions and shops were down overall by 8.7pc to 2,918, but hold-ups of cash or goods in transit jumped by 81pc from 21 to 38.
Hijackings were down from 122 to 100 while blackmail or extortion was up by one to 24; and while burglaries overall were on the increase from 25,420 to 27,439, those involving violence remained at the same level as the previous year on 333.
Car thefts were down by 9.5pc and thefts from shops by 4.1pc, but thefts from the person increased by 28.3pc to 3,683.
Fraud, deception and related offences rose by 6.3pc to 5,311 while drug crime was down by 11.5pc, with seizures of shipments up from 29 to 41 and possession of drugs for sale or supply down by 8.2pc to 582.
Public order offences dropped by 10.8pc although prostitution was up by 20.5pc to 247 incidents.
Meanwhile, a separate study by Eircom PhoneWatch indicated that €1,868 was the average value taken from each burgled home, with Thursday the most targeted day of the week and midday to 4pm the most likely time for a break-in.