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Sunday 22 July 2018

Sex offences up 15pc - but questions over accuracy of statistics

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Ryan Nugent

More than 3,000 sex offences have been recorded in the past year - a jump of 15pc - according to new crime statistics.

The figures, released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), revealed a jump in almost all crime categories between March 2017 and 2018.

Some 3,026 sexual offence crimes were recorded in that period, compared to 2,638 in the previous 12 months.

Also on the rise were the number of attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences, which went up from 16,856 to 19,137 in that period.

Homicide offences dropped from 87 to 72.

However, the CSO say that this figure is likely to change "as it is sometimes the case that fatal road traffic incidents lead to crime incidents of dangerous driving leading to death as investigations progress".

The CSO has also added that the crime figures provided are "under reservation" because the quality of the statistics do not meet the standards required of official statistics published by the website.

They resumed providing crime statistics in March this year.

"The categorisation of recorded crime statistics as statistics under reservation will remain in place until the CSO is satisfied that the level of accuracy and completeness of the underlying data is of sufficient quality," statistician Sam Scriven said.

"The CSO is engaging with An Garda Síochána to set out the criteria for lifting the reservation. These criteria will not be confined to homicide data, but will address quality concerns across a broad range of issues relating to the recording and classification of crime," he added.

Theft and related offences have also risen by 8pc from 64,423 to 69,938, while weapons and explosives offences are up by 12pc.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said he is disappointed in the rise in crime figures across most categories.

Speaking in relation to the sexual offences, Mr Flanagan said more people may be reporting such incidents to gardaí.

He also welcomed the drop in homicides.

"It is clear from the reduction in homicide figures that An Garda Síochána continue to make significant progress in tackling the insidious threat of organised crime, particularly in Dublin's north inner-city, where a proactive approach is being taken to combat those who seek to carry out such shocking murders and prevent further loss of life," he said.

Irish Independent

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