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new stats Burglaries drop by 20pc as Covid-19 lockdowns cause sharp fall in robberies

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burglar with crowbar to break door to enter the house

burglar with crowbar to break door to enter the house

burglar with crowbar to break door to enter the house

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and restrictions have led to a sharp decline in the number of burglaries, thefts, robberies, extortion and hijacking offences over the past year, the latest figures from the CSO reveal.

However serious crimes such as murder and false imprisonment were up over the same period as well as drugs and weapons offences.

An analysis of recorded crimes for the year ending in September shows that burglaries were down by 3,385 or 20.4pc over the same period last year.

Thefts and related offences were also down by 12,183 or 17.7pc while robbery, extortion and hijacking offences were down by 281 or 12pc over the same 12-month period.

While the pandemic has also led to a 12pc decline in the number of sexual offences reported, reports of false imprisonment increased by almost a third (32pc) to 115 incidents.

But reports of threats to kill or attempted murder, as well as assaults, harassment and related offences also saw a decline of almost 8pc.

Yet the number of female victims aged 30-44 reporting such crimes increased by 6pc, possibly reflecting an increase in incidents of domestic violence during the lockdowns.

Reports of damage to property and the environment were also down by 9.4pc while public order and other social code offences also saw a decline of 7.7pc.

Despite the lifting of travel restrictions in the summer, “other influences have resulted in continued reductions in levels of some types of recorded crime. These influences may include the closure of many licenced premises, restrictions on gatherings, cultural and sporting events, and periodic local lockdowns,” according to the CSO.

However the number of drug and weapons offences rose since last September.

Controlled drug offences increased by 8.7pc to 1,818 while the number of weapons and explosive offences also rose by 12.3pc to 332.

The 12-month period to the end of September also saw an increase in serious crimes. There were also five more homicides and related offences to the end of September compared to the same period last year, with 74 homicides reported, as well as 37 suspected murders and four suspected manslaughters. There were also 33 reported incidents of dangerous driving causing death.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the figures “demonstrate a general and welcome decrease in many categories of crime over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Of course, crime has not stopped and criminals continue to look for opportunities to exploit. In addition to supporting the public health regulations, gardaí have shown their determination to continue to prevent and detect crime with significant seizures and arrests for drugs, organised crime, burglaries, and drug and drink driving,” she said.

She attributed the increase in drugs and weapon offences to a greater degree of detection through targeted campaigns against organised crime as well as garda spotchecks, which also led to an increase of 108pc in drug driving offences.

“In the first six months of 2020, Garda operations to counter organised crime resulted in the seizure of €13.6m in illicit drugs, 13 firearms and 2,000 rounds of ammunition,” she said.


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