Commenting on the provisional headline crime figures for the third quarter released by the Central Statistics Office today, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, said:
"The CSO figures show that there was no increase in headline crime in the 12 month period to 30 September 2007 (against the background of a significant rise in the population). There was an increase of 2.8% in the third quarter, when compared with the same quarter last year. This compares with an increase in the second quarter of 4%. While this is an improving trend and shows that there have been successes in combating crime, there remain significant challenges to be overcome. Chief among these is the number of murders being committed and the level of organised crime. While the detection rate achieved by An Garda Síochána for murders which are not related to organised crime is excellent, detections for murders related to organised crime are more difficult to achieve. While it is the case that such murders make up only a minority of all murders, difficulties in detection are a matter of concern. That is why I welcome the recent announcement by the Garda Commissioner of significant improvements in the way major crimes are investigated.
Detections are made only as a result of hard and unrelenting police work. The Government is providing, and will continue to, the necessary personnel, resources and legislative powers to enable An Garda Síochána to pursue criminals successfully.
No one is above or outside the reach of the law. I am determined that we will continue to do whatever it takes, within the law, to make sure that there is no hiding place for those involved in organised crime and that, whatever it takes for however long it takes, the full rigours of the law will catch up with them. It will take determined, steady and relentless action by everyone involved."
The Minister said that the increases in the number of cases of possession of drugs for sale or supply (up 26.2% in the year to date) and cultivation, manufacture and importation of drugs (up 54.8%) were the result of such police work, directed against those involved in gangland/drug activities.
The Minister noted that there was a reduction in the overall figure for sexual crimes (down 4.9% in the quarter and 9.4% in the year to date). All five sexual crime categories showed no change or reductions during the quarter. The Minister said: "The figures for sexual crimes no longer show the steep declines experienced in earlier quarters. I hope that any reluctance on the part of victims to report sexual crimes, as a result of publicity surrounding court cases last year, has now dissipated and the figures better reflect the underlying reality."
The Minister welcomed the significant reduction in the number of cases of dangerous driving causing death or serious injury (down 46.7% on the quarter and 25.9% on the year). This reflects the increased enforcement activities of the Garda Traffic Corps which are focused on the locations and times of greatest risk.
The Minister also welcomed the positive trends in the levels of burglary, which in the year to date shows a reduction of 10.8%. The Minister said: "Burglary is a crime that, in practice, adversely affects many more people than the high profile crimes which attract understandable public attention. I believe that the reduction in the number of burglaries is due both to businesses and individuals taking enhanced safety precautions and successful work by An Garda Síochána. However, there has been an increase in the number of thefts from vehicles, and I appeal to owners to make every effort to make their vehicles as tamper proof as possible and to take sensible precautions with their property."
There were significant reductions in the number of robberies of cash and goods in transit (down 71% in the quarter) and of robberies of an establishment or institution (down 12%).
The Minister said: "I am currently finalising the policing priorities which I will be providing to the Garda Commissioner and which will inform his policing plan for 2008. These will focus in particular on gun crime, organised crime and drugs."
The crime statistics are published today on the CSO website (www.cso.ie).
24 October, 2007