Commenting on the statistics on recorded crime in the second quarter of 2009 released by the Central Statistics Office today, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., said that they show a continuation of the encouraging trends of the previous quarter. However, they also reveal some matters of concern which he and the Government are responding to.
The Minister said: "It is heartening that of the 14 crime groups for which statistics are given, eleven show reductions, including public order, weapons and explosives and sexual offences.
I am encouraged by positive trends which these statistics reveal. However, while the number of homicides overall show a decrease of 20.8%, I am concerned at the increase in the number of murders, from eight in the second quarter of 2008 to 15 in the last quarter. Many of these were gangland related, and it was partly to combat this trend that I piloted significant legislation through the Oireachtas in the past number of months, including the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act and the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act.
This legislation makes significant additional powers available to An Garda Síochána to detect criminal behaviour and make its prosecution more efficient and effective in the courts. The Garda Commissioner along with the entire Force will make full use of these powers and of the significant personnel and financial resources available."
The decrease of 20.8% in the number of homicide offences is as a result of decreases of 100% in the number of cases of manslaughter and of 69.2% in the number of cases of dangerous driving leading to death.
Public order offences decreased by 7.7%, and this decrease was reflected in all the public offence categories, including decreases of 6.4% in disorderly conduct, of 58.3% in prostitution offences and of 19.9% in offences relating to liquor licensing.
Garda operations have contributed to the significant increases of 54.8% in the number of cases of cultivation or manufacture of drugs and of 33.3% in the number of drug importations detected. This, allied with decreases in the possession of drugs for sale or supply (- 4.3%) and for personal use (- 0.8%), is the result of the priority given by An Garda Síochána to intercepting the supply of drugs.
The Minister expressed his concern at the rise of 6.7% in burglaries and acknowledges the great distress which this form of crime causes to its victims. He noted that An Garda Síochána was paying particular attention to counteracting this trend.
The Minister attaches a high importance, not only to the detection of crime but also to its prevention. He therefore earlier this year initiated a process leading to the publication of a White Paper on Crime, which will set out an overall policy framework within which measures to tackle crime will be implemented. As part of that process, he is today launching a consultation discussion document on crime prevention and community safety.
31 July 2009