Crackdown on crime pays off as number of assaults down 8.7pc
PERSONAL crimes have fallen significantly in a year, according to the latest statistics.
Assault and related offences are down by 8.7pc in the year ending in March, while sexual offences have dropped by 12.4pc and kidnapping by 21.9pc, figures published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office show.
Overall, there was a decrease in 12 of the 14 crime groups, compared with the previous 12 months. However, there were mixed results with property crime. Robbery and theft were down by 8.2pc and 2.4pc, respectively, while aggravated burglary, in which violence was used, also dropped by 9.6pc. But burglaries overall were up by 11pc -- a rise which prompted Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to set up a special operation, codenamed Fiacla.
The operation began in March and figures for the first three months, revealed by the Irish Independent two weeks ago, show burglaries have been cut by a quarter since the crackdown on travelling gangs began.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said last night that the increase in the number of burglaries in the past 12 months was of great concern to him and to communities throughout the country.
He said it was too early to see the full impact of the measures introduced by gardai under Fiacla, but he was aware these were a priority and were proactively targeting prolific offenders.
"Together with good crime prevention and community policing, these measures represent a focused and strategic approach to challenging those involved in this type of criminality and should be reflected in future crime figures," the minister said.
He added that the continued reduction in nearly all categories of recorded crime reflected well on garda measures to prevent and combat it.
There were 50 recorded murder and manslaughter offences during the 12 months, a decrease of five on the corresponding period in 2010/2011.
Murders were down from 50 to 49, while manslaughters dropped from five to one. However, a quarterly breakdown of the statistics shows there were 20 murders during the first quarter of this year, compared with 13 in the corresponding period in 2011, and six in the final quarter of last year.
But almost all of this year's total have been either domestic or non-gangland related.
The annual statistics also showed public order and damage to property offences were down by 14.7pc and 11.3pc, respectively, while weapons and explosives crimes fell by 18.7pc.
The number of cases of dangerous driving causing death or serious bodily harm decreased by more than half, and while overall drug offences were down 8.9pc, detection of drug importations jumped by 22.6pc.