Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sexual offences spike while burglaries remain high

Just 5pc drop in break-ins over year despite minister's claims

Burglaries stood at 26,246 in 2015 – dropping 5pc from 27,635 the previous year
Burglaries stood at 26,246 in 2015 – dropping 5pc from 27,635 the previous year

Paul Williams Special Correspondent

One person is raped every day in Ireland, worrying new crime figures reveal.

Overall there was been a dramatic jump in all sexual offences reported to gardaí last year.

And while burglaries dropped during the period, they still remain high - despite political spin from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Burglaries stood at 26,246 in 2015 - dropping 5pc from 27,635 the previous year.

The minister said: "The very welcome reduction in burglary is most encouraging and I believe it vindicates the carefully considered strategy to tackle the scourge of burglary crime."

But despite the minister's claims about the success of Operation Thor in the final months of the year, burglaries actually rose. They went up from 6,084 in the third quarter of 2015 to 6,097 in the final quarter.

The minister claimed a 26.2pc drop, but that only applies when the final quarter of 2015 is compared to the final quarter of 2014.

Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences fell by 2.4pc to 2,584. However, within that category 'Blackmail or extortion' offences rose by 147.6pc to 52 while 'Robbery of an establishment or institution' rose by a significant 9.8pc over the same period.

The figures are revealed in the latest Central Statistics Office data.

Among the most startling statistics were the 536 reported rapes across the state - representing an increase of more than 12pc on the previous year.

Sexual offences involving mentally impaired victims, aggravated sexual assaults and other sex crimes are also on the rise.

Overall, there was a 15pc jump in all sexual offences -suggesting more than six people are sexually assaulted every day across the Republic.

But just over half of categorised crime have shown a drop, including burglaries, robberies, weapons and drugs offences.

The murder rate plunged more than 40pc from 52 to 30.

Both weapons and explosives offences and recorded drug crime were down by nearly 5pc last year.

This included a sharp drop in the number of drug smuggling and drug-manufacturing offences, while drug-dealing has also fallen back.

Last year also saw a marked increase in murder threats and serious assaults.

Under the heading of kidnapping offences, there were 93 false imprisonments - up by a significant 75pc. There was an 8pc rise in fraud and deception cases, up to 5,600.


At the same time, prostitution offences nosedived more than 50pc from 129 to 56.

Car theft was down but shop-lifting increased during the year, with more than 22,500 offences reported.

There was a slight rise in public order offences, the CSO report shows.

Ms Fitzgerald claimed the figures showed important reductions in some of the most serious crimes, including burglary. But she noted in particular the rise in sexual offences and assault.

"While I welcome the reductions in burglaries and other serious crime categories, the latest crime figures show that we need to maintain investment in Garda resources as well as continuing with the recruitment of new gardaí," she said.

"With the continuing support of communities throughout the country, I am confident that An Garda Síochana will continue to confront criminals and provide protection and reassurance for all law-abiding people."

Irish Independent

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