Wednesday 18 September 2019

Crime figures paint a grim picture as sex offences and robbery soar

Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Sexual offences have risen by 11.7pc in the past year while robbery, extortion and hijacking have spiralled by 22.7pc, the latest crime statistics reveal.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) data shows that most types of crime have risen in the year.

Robbery, extortion and hijacking increased from 2,002 in 2017 to 2,475 this year.

Meanwhile, 2,763 sexual offences were recorded last year compared to 3,086 in 2018, according to the report 'Crime Q3 2018',

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan yesterday expressed concern at the increase of robbery-related offences, and highlighted the recruitment of new gardaí.

"This Government remains committed to ensuring a strong and visible Garda presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime," he said.

Mr Flanagan added that the rise in the recorded incidents of sexual assault, and particularly rape, "continues to be an area of key focus for both the Government and An Garda Síochána". The minister said he would encourage anyone who had been a victim of sexual crimes to come forward.

Eoin Dunne, managing director of security systems supplier PhoneWatch, welcomed a fall in the rate of burglaries.

He said: "Thankfully, the rate has fallen by 6.4pc compared to the same period in 2017. However, the risks remain high.

"This underlines the importance of always remaining vigilant and taking proactive measures to maximise your home's security.

"While being the victim of a burglary is always upsetting, it can be particularly distressing at this time of year."

The Q3 figures have been listed by the CSO as 'under reservation'.

Statistician Olive Loughnane said: "The categorisation will remain in place until the CSO is satisfied that the level of accuracy and completeness of the underlying data is of sufficient quality."

Earlier this month, the CSO announced it had found the way gardaí record crime statistics had improved a great deal.

However, it felt that improved accuracy and more comprehensive recording was still necessary in some areas.

Irish Independent

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