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Dublin city had highest crime rates in Ireland last year, new figures show

Figures show that the Dublin City Council (DCC) area was highest for five common crimes: drugs, thefts, assaults, public order, and possession of weapons.

Gardaí stop vehicles at a Covid-19 checkpoint in Dublin. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Robin Schiller

DUBLIN city had the highest crime rates in Ireland last year, with gardaí in Louth and Waterford also investigating more offences than the national average per 100,000 of population.

Figures show that the Dublin City Council (DCC) area was highest for five common crimes: drugs, thefts, assaults, public order, and possession of weapons.

Outside of the capital, instances of these crime groups were high in Waterford, Cork and Louth, where gardaí have had significant successes in targeting two feuding criminal gangs in Drogheda.

While most serious crime categories have decreased as a result of restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, some offences increased in 2020.

In particular, drugs and weapons crimes have risen and, while assaults have dropped overall, attacks on women have not dropped as sharply compared with assaults on men.

Data shows that DCC, which covers a densely populated area from Ballymun to Donnybrook, had the highest crime rates in the country last year.

The local authority area includes the city centre and has a population of around 544,544.

For public order offences, there were 1,424 reported per 100,000 in the city last year, almost double that of the second highest rate in Galway, which saw 838 per 100,000.

Co Cork was the third highest with 766 per 100,000, with similar figures recorded in Waterford (758) and Louth (733) which were fourth and fifth for public order crimes.

The county with the lowest crime rate per 100,000 for this category was Meath at 291.

DCC also saw the most drug offences reported in 2020, at 928 per 100,000, with the South Dublin County Council (SDCC) area second at 843.

Drug crimes, which have increased across Ireland, were also high in Louth (717), due in part to the success of Operation Stratus introduced to target crime gangs in Drogheda.

Waterford had 665 drugs offences per 100,000, followed by Cork (615). Galway had the lowest reported drug crimes with 246 per 100,000.

The DCC area reported 619 assaults per 100,000 last year, with Waterford (539) and Louth (544) also having higher than average assaults.

The Cavan/Monaghan Garda division reported 464 assaults and related offences per 100,000 people living there, while Cork saw 464. The areas with the lowest rate of reported assaults, 215 per 100,000, were Kilkenny and Carlow, which are policed by the same Garda division.

Weapons and firearms offences, a crime category which rose by 14.9pc countrywide last year, was among the highest in two Dublin areas.

DCC saw 151 offences per 100,000, followed by SDCC, an area which includes Clondalkin, Lucan and Tallaght, with 76 incidents.

Outside of the capital the highest weapons offence rates were reported in Louth (99), Waterford (95) and Cork (79).

Gardaí in Mayo dealt with the lowest number of firearms offences in 2020, with 26 per 100,000 of the population.

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