Crime rate falls by 8pc as officers target burglars
A SUBSTANTIAL drop in burglaries has helped push the overall nationwide crime rate down by 8pc over the past year.
Figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show a fall of more than 20,000 offences in total, with crime again down in 12 out of 14 categories.
A reduction of 9pc in burglaries was recorded, down from 28,770 to 26,211. Operation Fiacla, which was set up to combat the burglars across the country, has resulted in the arrest of 6,329 suspects up to the end of last month, with criminal charges brought against 3,541 people.
However, the overall figure for theft has increased by 0.8pc, up by 628 offences to a total of 77,022 over the year ending in June. This is being fuelled by a massive 33pc rise in theft from the person, bringing the number of offences up to 5,729.
Welcoming the overall figures, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the rise of theft from the person was a specific area of concern. He noted that this included what he described as the phenomenon of mobile phone theft.
He said this was being tackled by a number of targeted garda operations and specific crime-prevention advice on keeping phones and other valuable items secure.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the intensive work carried out by his force over the past year was having a very tangible effect on the quality of life around the country.
He stressed that targeted, intelligence-led operations were crucial in effectively disrupting subversive and criminal gangs and said he could never over-emphasise the importance of the partnership between the gardai and the community in continuing to prevent and detect crime.
Significant decreases were also recorded for weapons and explosives offences (down 13.9pc); drugs crime (12.6pc); murder attempts, assaults and harassment (10pc); fraud and deception (10pc); sexual offences (7.9pc); kidnappings (12.5pc); damage to property (9.4pc); and public order (14.6pc). Also down were incidents of robberies of cash or goods in transit, which fell by 40.7pc.
A crime group, categorised as homicide, is the only other to show an increase, up by 1.5pc from 67 to 68. But this is a result of a rise in dangerous driving leading to death, up from 16 to 20, while murders were down by one and manslaughters by two.
Mr Shatter said the figures showed that those involved in criminal gangs and the drugs trade were being robustly opposed.
Mr Callinan said during a visit to the National Ploughing Championships that the significant arms find in Meelick, Co Clare, at the weekend showed there was still a real threat from dissident republican groups.
He pointed out that the garda units combating the dissidents had been very successful in the past 18 months.