The Central Statistics Office today published the recorded crime statistics for the 12 month period ending with the third quarter of 2012. Speaking on publication, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD, welcomed the reduction in 12 of the 14 crime groups for which figures are given, compared with the previous 12 months.

Minister Shatter said: "These latest statistics are generally very positive. The Gardaí are making an impact on crime and we can be confident that this forms a good basis for ensuring community safety into 2013. "

Crimes against the person are down including homicide offences (down 17.9%), sexual offences (down 0.7%) and assault and related offences (down 9.5%).

Public order and damage to property offences are also down (by 12% and 9.3% respectively), as are drug offences (down 7.1%) and weapons and explosives offences (down 17.4%).

The position with respect to some property offences remains a concern, however. Robbery is down (by 5.9%) but burglary is up 7.9% and fraud offences up by 6.2% (robbery involves, broadly speaking, stealing with the use of force or causing a fear of force, as opposed to burglary which involves trespassing in a building and committing or intending to commit an arrestable offence). While the burglary figures reflect a twelve month trend seen earlier in the year, the rate of increase has reduced from 10.3% to 7.9% and the figures for the most recent quarter are actually marginally lower than the equivalent quarter in 2011, which is an encouraging development. The cumulative 12 month figures published today include Q4 2011 and Q1 2012, which predate the commencement of Operation Fiacla. The impact of Operation Fiacla can be seen in the reduction in quarterly burglary figures since then. While the overall category of theft offences are down by 1.2% there is a worrying increase in the level of theft from the person and this is continuing to receive attention through targeted Garda operations.

"Operation Fiacla, set up by the Garda Commissioner in February 2012 to combat a rise in burglaries, has resulted in 3,217 arrests and 1,737 charges up to the end of November. An Garda Síochána is clearly tackling the problem of burglary and the prolific offenders involved head–on. The comparison between the figures for the third quarter of 2012 with those from the same period in 2011 clearly shows the positive impact of this successful operation. I have full confidence that the success of Operation Fiacla will be continued over the coming months", the Minister said. 

"I would also like to again applaud the Gardaí on the impact they are having on the drugs trade which is at the heart of most organised and gang crime. In recent days we have seen further major seizures as part of Operation Nitrogen’s focus on cannabis grow-houses and seven individuals were charged this morning. These latest seizures are estimated at €4.6m in value, following a highly productive year for tackling the drug problem and the gangs involved."

Finally, the Minister noted that "the substantial reduction in cases of dangerous driving leading to death reflects the very welcome progress made in reducing road fatalities generally. The number of deaths on our roads to date in 2012 is 158, which is 19 lower than it was this day last year. I appeal to all to use the roads safely over the festive period."

21 December 2012