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Tiger kidnappings have nearly doubled over five-year period

SERIOUS crimes such as tiger kidnappings and weapons and explosive offences have risen dramatically over a five-year period, new figures reveal.

But murders, manslaughters and sexual offences were all down significantly.

The figures, recorded between 2005 and 2009, were published by the Central Statistics Office.

Separate statistics for the first quarter of this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2010 show a drop in 10 out of the 14 crime groups.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the decreases were the result of garda strategies and actions to combat crime.

The minister warned the force would have to continue to use resources as creatively and effectively as possible.

But he acknowledged that he remained concerned at the level of homicides and attempted murders resulting from the activities of drug gangs.

The new figures disclosed that kidnappings and related offences almost doubled (up 97pc) from 74 to 146, while weapons and explosives crimes were up by 59pc from 2,560 to 4,064.

Drug seizures were up by 65pc, fraud and deception by 23pc and attempted murder and assaults by 34pc but murders were down by 30pc from 126 to 88, while sexual offences dropped by 18pc.

High volume categories such as burglary (26,911) and theft (77,032) were up by 2pc and 5pc, respectively.

In the most serious crime groups, gardai recorded relatively high detection rates with four out of five homicides solved in 2009 and more than half of the sexual offences.

The detection rate for burglaries fell to one in four in 2009, although this was up significantly on 18pc in 2005, while theft detections were up from 32pc to 37pc.

The highest detection rate was for drug offences -- at 99pc -- where most seizures lead to an arrest, while the lowest at 22 was in the investigation of damage to property and to the environment.

The biggest change in the five-year timeframe was in robbery, extortion and hijacking offences where detections were increased from 41pc to 52pc.


A regional breakdown of the homicide figures in 2009 shows that almost half, or 29 out of the nationwide rate of 60, were committed in the Dublin metropolitan area -- with 10 in the south, eight each in the east and south-east, six in the west and only one in the north.

Meanwhile, the quarterly statistics showed burglaries involving violence were up by over 10pc from 88 to 97 in the first three months of this year; non-violent burglaries increased by 7.7pc to 6,443.

Thefts and related offences such as handling stolen property were up by 5.3pc from 18,352 to 19,328. However, gangland crimes such as weapons and explosives offences dropped by 3.3pc from 879 to 850 with possessions of firearms down substantially from 104 to 78.

Drug offences fell by 12pc from 4,756 to 4,170 but, reflecting current trends, "growhouse" crimes involving the cultivation or manufacture of drugs increased by 54pc from 65 to 100.

Prostitution offences were up by more than 300pc from 24 to 99 but homicides, including murder and manslaughter, fell from 27 to 19, in the January to March period.

Mr Shatter last night announced he intended to publish a white paper on crime with the aim of developing a comprehensive national anti-crime strategy.

Irish Independent