The Central Statistics Office today published the recorded crime statistics for the third quarter of 2010. Speaking after publication, the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D. welcomed the decrease in 11 of the 14 crime groups for which figures are given, compared with the same quarter in 2009.
Minister Ahern said: "These figures show a continuation of the positive trends in the second quarter and reflect the Government's initiatives for tackling crime and the unceasing work of the members of An Garda Síochána. The Commissioner and I are determined that this work will continue."
Minister Ahern welcomed the continuing reductions in the numbers of cases of murder - down 23.5% in the quarter, compared with the same quarter last year, and 20.7% year on year.
He also welcomed the decreases in the number of controlled drug offences (down 11% quarter on quarter) and weapons and explosives offences (down 8.2%). The Minister said: "Offences in these categories cause particularly serious harm to society. I commend the Garda Commissioner and An Garda Síochána for the unremitting effort which they are putting into combating these types of crime." The Minister welcomed the significant increase (of 138.8%) in the number of cases detected of cultivation or manufacture of drugs, as a result of Garda operations. The Minister noted that the recently published Criminal Assets Bureau annual report for 2009 shows once again the effectiveness of a co-ordinated, multi-agency approach in dealing with the proceeds of criminal activity. This approach will continue in the period ahead.
The Minister noted that the only increase in the weapons and explosives offences category was in the number of fireworks offences. This type of offence is predominantly detected by Garda work. The Minister said: "Particularly at this time of year I would warn people of the dangers involved in the use of illicit fireworks and the heavy penalties which now apply."
The Minister noted that, as the CSO points out, the increase shown in sexual offences is due, not to an actual increase in the number of cases, but because of an adjustment following an on-going review of all cases involving alleged sexual offences reported to An Garda Síochána at various times in the past - not only in the last quarter. This on-going review is taking place in the context of An Garda Síochána making publicly available its policy on the investigation of sexual crime, including child abuse earlier in the year. As part of that policy, designated Gardaí have responsibility for ensuring that all sexual crime incidents are recorded and reviewed on the Garda PULSE system. At the time of publication of the policy, the Commissioner emphasised the importance of combining professionalism with sensitivity and compassion in the investigation of such crimes.
While the statistics show a disturbing increase of 21.2% in robbery, extortion and hijacking offences, they also show decreases in burglary and related offences (down 16.6%) and theft and related offences (down 0.5%), which make up the greatest proportion of property offences.
Minister Ahern continued: "I attach a very high priority not only to the prevention and detection of crime but also to meeting the needs of victims. It was with this in view that last July I launched the Victims Charter and Guide to the Criminal Justice System, which sets out in an accessible way the range of support services and helplines available to the public and places victims at the centre of the justice system.
There have been decreases in all categories of driving related offences - dangerous driving leading to death, dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm (both down 60%) and driving or being in charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit or under the influence of drugs. While there has been a reduction in the number of road deaths to date this year, compared with last year, we must not become complacent, but must ensure that this trend continues".
The crime statistics are available on the CSO website www.cso.ie.
28 October 2010.