Minister Humphreys notes release of CSO crime stats for Q2 2021
Reductions in burglary, robbery and theft offences
Minister and An Garda Síochána to launch cyber security initiatives as fraud offences increase
29 September 2021
The Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys TD, has noted today’s publication of Recorded Crime Statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The period covered under this release is the 12 months to the end of June 2021, with the comparison period being the 12 months to the end of June 2020. As such, the figures should be considered in the context of the various levels of public health restrictions that were in place during COVID period.
The statistics show continued decreases in property crime. Burglary was down 37.2% compared to the same 12 month period. Robbery was down 20.7% and theft was down 22%.
Minister Humphreys said:
“I welcome the reduced reports of property crime over the COVID-19 period. However, as society continues to emerge from the public health restrictions, I would urge the public to please exercise caution and follow the simple crime prevention advice which An Garda Síochána provides to communities at garda.ie/en/crime-prevention/ in order to keep people safe and keep crime numbers low.
There will be no relaxation in the collective effort of the Government and Gardaí to suppress crime. This year's Winter Phase of Operation Thor will commence on 1 October 2021. This Operation is designed to specifically tackle the increase in the number of burglaries and associated criminal activity that usually occurs in the winter months by undertaking targeted enforcement and preventative activity. This includes the Lock Up and Light Up public awareness campaign encouraging homeowners to protect their homes over the winter months.”
Reported fraud offences have increased by 40.6% in the period. This increase occurred mostly in Q1 and Q2 of 2021 and primarily relates to fraudulent attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone as well as fraudulent use of credit and debit card information. The total of 4,044 fraud incidents recorded in the most recent quarter (i.e. between April and June 2021) is the highest quarterly total for fraud incidents since the CSO began compiling Recorded Crime statistics in 2006.
The Minister said:
“I am very aware of the increased number of fraudulent calls, text messages and emails which members of the public have received over the course of the year. October is European Cyber Security Month and my Department and An Garda Síochána will also be launching a number of initiatives in the coming weeks to support this.”
The number of Sexual offences recorded during Q2 2021 has increased by 7.5% when compared to last year.
The Minister added:
“I note with concern the increase in reported sexual offences and would continue to encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to come forward and report the incident to An Garda Síochána.
The No Excuses campaign that my department is running highlights that, as a society, we all have a role to play in preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence. The campaign underpins the message that sexual violence and harassment will not be tolerated.
Through Justice Plan 2021 and Supporting a Victim’s Journey, I am working to reform the criminal justice system at every point in which a victim comes into contact with it, and to help victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases.”
To date, a number of key actions have been delivered as part of implementing Supporting a Victim’s Journey including:
Legislating for the introduction of preliminary trial hearings;
The nationwide rollout of Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSU);
The first cohort of staff at a new sexual offences unit in the Director of Public Prosecutions office formally took up their roles in April;
Work to advance the training for all personnel who come into contact with vulnerable victims is underway;
A review of the supports and funding of civil society organisations providing frontline services is underway to identify where gaps may exist and how to bridge them.
The Department has also agreed to the development and delivery of a significant new national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland by the CSO. It will look in detail at the experience of sexual violence and abuse for both women and men in Ireland.
There was a substantial increase in the number of incidents of Driving/In charge of a vehicle under the influence of drugs. The number of incidents increased by 895 (+47.1%) to a total of 2,795 in the year to Q2 2021. Incidents of Driving/In charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit fell by 955 (-16.6%) over the same period.
The Minister concluded:
“While I welcome the significant decrease in the number of incidents of driving while over the legal alcohol limit, I am concerned at the significant rise in the number of recorded incidents of driving under the influence of drugs. Driving while under the influences of drugs is an act of potentially fatal carelessness and any person who does so shows a complete disregard for their own safety and the safety of other road users. I would strongly urge anyone consuming such substances not to drive while under their influence.”
A total of 3,778 offences were recorded on PULSE for breaches of COVID-19 regulations in Q2 2021. This was a marked decrease on the 10,438 such offences recorded during Q1 2021 following the introduction of a new system of Fixed Payment Notices (i.e. fines) in respect of breaches of COVID-19 regulations in December 2020. The reduction reflects the general easing of restrictions during Q2 relative to Q1.
Notes for Editors:
The full statistics can be accessed at: www.cso.ie
An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, there are now approximately 14,400 Garda members and over 3,300 Garda staff nationwide.
Statistics published “Under Reservation”
In early 2018, the CSO announced its decision to resume publication of recorded crime statistics in the first six months of 2018. However, as PULSE data – on which the CSO is wholly dependent - is subject to a number of separate ongoing quality reviews and concerns that extended beyond just homicide data, the CSO made the decision that recorded crime statistics will be published in a new category entitled: “Under Reservation”.
According to the CSO, the classification of “Under Reservation” is in keeping with other jurisdictions and other statistical domains. This indicates that, while the statistics have been determined to be of sufficient quality to allow publication, ongoing issues mean that the quality does not yet meet the higher standard required of official statistics by the CSO.
Criteria for lifting the categorisation
The CSO is engaging with An Garda Síochána to set out the criteria for the lifting of the reservation. These criteria are not confined to homicide data but will address quality concerns across a broader range of issues. They will address issues such as data governance, training, crime data recording procedures and the auditing and monitoring of data quality.