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Sharp decline in recorded crime rates in 2020 amid pandemic

The biggest drop was in burglary and related offences, falling by over a third in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Image: PA

THERE WAS A sharp decline in recorded crime levels in Ireland last year amid continuous lockdown measures to fight the pandemic.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that burglary and related offences fell by over a third, 34.7%, with 5,810 fewer incidents in 2020 compared to 2019.

Incidents of theft were down by a quarter, 24.5%, while robbery, extortion and hijacking dropped 22.9%.

Violent crimes such as attempts or threats to murder, assaults and harassment saw 2,882 fewer incidents in 2020, a decline of 13.2%.

Sexual offences were down by 10.6% on 2019 levels.

However, women remain at far higher risk of such crimes, even during lockdown.

The number of male victims of attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences fell by 19% in 2020.

But for women that figure was considerably lower, dropping just 6.4%.

The fall in the number of victims was highest in the 18-29 years age group for both males, down by 944, and females, down by 433.

There have also been increases in certain types of crime.

Weapons and explosives offences was up by 14.9%, while controlled drug offences jumped by 9.1% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

The number of homicide offences was nine higher than in 2019, with the CSO saying this was driven by more incidents of dangerous driving leading to death, up 10 on the previous year.

There were also 1,101 breaches of Covid-19 regulations which were classified as crime incidents by gardai in 2020.

These included breaches of regulations relating to domestic travel restrictions, licensed premises, wearing of face coverings and international travel.

Meanwhile, the number of people travelling in and out of the country fell sharply in February compared to January this year.

Some 54,800 passengers arrived in Ireland on overseas routes in February, a decrease of 49.2% on the month before.

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In the same month, 53,200 passengers departed from Ireland on overseas routes, a drop of 55.2% on the previous month.

The figures are dramatically lower than in February 2020, when 1,215,100 passengers arrived, and 1,203,300 passengers departed.

Continental routes contributed most to the passenger traffic.

Some 31,600 passengers arrived on continental routes and 27,800 passengers departed.

That compares to just 13,200 passengers arrived on cross-channel routes and 17,200 passengers departed on those routes.

Some 2,100 passengers arrived on transatlantic routes, with 2,200 passengers departing this way.

The CSO is still categorising garda statistics as ‘under reservation’. This categorisation indicates that the quality of the stats do not meet the standards required of official statistics published by the CSO.

The statistics office first suspended the publication of Recorded Crime statistics in 2014 following the Garda Inspectorate report identifying quality issues in relation to the recording of data on the PULSE system. The PULSE system is the only source of recorded crime data available to the CSO to produce these statistics. 

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