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Sharp decline Significant drop in criminality in Ireland during the pandemic, new figures show

Drug crimes were one of the few categories to increase, with a 9pc rise which gardaí say is driven by enforcement, while there was an almost 15pc increase in weapons and explosive offences.

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(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

Over 1,000 breaches of Covid-19 regulations last year have been classified as crimes by gardaí including the non-wearing of face coverings and international travel.

Other criminal offences recorded among the 1,101 breaches were for people breaking domestic travel restrictions and licensed premises operating outside of guidelines.

The figures have been released as part of the Central Statistic Office’s (CSO) review of recorded crimes in 2020 which show a significant drop in criminality during the pandemic.

Drug crimes were one of the few categories to increase, with a 9pc rise which gardaí say is driven by enforcement, while there was an almost 15pc increase in weapons and explosive offences.

Crimes for dangerous or negligent acts, including drink driving, were similar to the previous year with 8,717 recorded offences.

However, the number of people caught driving while under the influence of drugs more than doubled in 2020, with 2,643 crimes reported.

Physical assaults and similar offences decreased by 13.2pc, although the CSO noted that attacks on women have not fallen as sharply as assaults on men.

They also noted that assaults on women aged between 30 and 44 is the only group to have increased in 2020, albeit it marginally by 2.1pc.

Sexual offences have also decreased by 10.6pc with 354 less incidents reported, an offence category that had consistently increased year-on-year.

Among the biggest drop in crime rates was for burglary offences, which fell by a third, while thefts dropped by a quarter last year and robberies were down 22pc.

The CSO said that homicide related offences had increased by nine cases compared to the previous year, but noted that this was driven by an increase of 10 in incidents classified as dangerous driving leading to death.

Crimes classified as damage to property fell by 11pc with a similar decrease for public order related crimes.

The CSO added that Covid-19 related offences were not included in their statistical table “due to difficulties aligning them with the existing statistical classification”.

Last July Operation Navigation was launched by gardaí to target pubs and restaurants operating outside of Covid-19 regulations, as well as illegal Sheebens.

The number of liquor licensing offences recorded in 2020 fell significantly, by 42.6pc, from 530 to 304 crimes.

Sam Scriven, statistician with the CSO, said: “The statistics released today show a considerable fall in the number of crime incidents recorded in 2020 compared to 2019 across a range of crime incident types.

“The number of assaults on women in 2020 fell in comparison to 2019, but not as sharply as the decline in the number of assaults on males.

“The number of homicides recorded rose by nine compared to 2019 but was driven by an increase of 10 in the number of incidents classified as dangerous driving leading to death. The combined figure for murder & manslaughter incidents fell by one compared to 2019,” he added.


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