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Minister McEntee notes release of CSO Crime Statistics for 2020

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has noted the publication of Recorded Crime Statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for Q4 2020. This latest statistical release by the CSO provides the annualised crime statistics for 2020.

Minister McEntee said:

“The upheaval caused by COVID-19 delivered a significant interruption to crime patterns in 2020 and the finding that burglary, theft and robbery related offences are at their lowest volumes since the CSO began publishing crime statistics from 2003 is very welcome. I also welcome the recorded drop in reports of crimes against the person such as attempts/threats to murder, assault and harassment offences.

“However, it is important that we keep in mind that these figures reflect a period when the country spent significant periods in lockdown and there will be no relaxation in the collective effort of the government and Gardaí to suppress crime as our communities emerge from these restrictions.”

Burglary and related offences saw an annualised Quarter 4 decrease of 34.7% compared to 2019. Likewise theft and related offences were down by 24.5% compared 2019 and Robbery and extortion offences decreased by 22.9% compared to 2019. The reductions in crimes against property groups were driven by significant drops in volumes during Q2 when the first lockdown took place.

Attempts/threats to murder, assault and harassment offences are down 13.2% compared to 2019. Crimes against the person offence types were highest during Q3, perhaps reflecting the opening up after the initial period of lockdown. While the number of murders reduced from 36 to 34, the number of cases of Dangerous Driving leading to Death increased from 25 to 35, which is an unwelcome reversal of a downward trend that has been evident over the past few years.

The Minister added:

“While decreases can be seen in the overall reported levels of crimes against the person, I am very conscious of the particular risks which COVID-19 has presented for those at risk of domestic violence. Since the start of the pandemic, An Garda Síochána have prioritised domestic abuse incidents through Operation Faoiseamh and in doing so have proactively targeted perpetrators and provided enhanced support to victims of domestic abuse.

“Preventing and addressing sexual crime remains a key priority for me as Minister for Justice and for Government. Delivering on the actions set out in the Justice Plan 2021 and in Supporting a Victim’s Journey will introduce important reforms into the criminal justice system to ensure victims are consistently supported and informed at every point along their journey from the moment they report a crime, through the investigation, trial and beyond. The nationwide rollout of the Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSU) within An Garda Síochána which is complete, is an important part of those reforms. The availability of DPSUs in every division means there are now specially trained officers available nationwide who are responsible for engagement with and interviewing vulnerable victims.”

Recorded offences in relation to drugs increased in a number of categories. Controlled drug offences rose by 9.1% compared to 2019, with an increase both in possession for simple possession and drugs for sale or supply contributing the highest volume to the increase.

The Minister said:

“While I am concerned to see this increase, we must recognise that it also reflects the increased Garda numbers on frontline policing duties and the concentrated work of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau. We will continue to fight against the scourge of drugs in our society because of the incredible damage they do to our families, to our community and to those vulnerable people who are lured into drug use. In particular, the marked increase in detection of Cultivation or Manufacture of Drugs is a credit to the proactive and preemptive efforts of An Garda Síochána to tackle this form of criminality.

“I also note with some concern the substantial increase in the number of recorded incidents of driving while under the influence of drugs. This is in stark contrast with the downwards trend in incidents of driving while over the legal alcohol limit. While this is parallel to the increased number of Garda checkpoints during the public health emergency, such a profound increase is a troubling trend. Driving while under the influence of drugs is a truly selfish and reckless act, and any person who does so shows a complete disregard for their own safety and that of other road users. I commend An Garda Síochána for their efforts to tackle this appalling act.”


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