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Levels of recorded crime fall sharply during the Covid pandemic - except for fraud

However, the number of fraud incidents increased in the last year by more than 13% compared with the previous year.

Image: Eamonn Farrell

THE LEVELS OF recorded crime have fallen sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The latest figures show that the number of offences dropped, including burglary, which fell by 45%, theft, which fell by 30%, and robbery, which decreased by 26%.

The CSO published its latest Recorded Crime statistics, which covered the last year up to the end of March 2021.

There was also a decrease in the number of murders, which fell by 22%, and assaults and related offences, which dropped by 13%.

Criminal damage fell by 11%, and public order offences fell by 11.2%.

CSO crime Source: CSO

However, the number of fraud incidents increased in the last year by more than 13% compared with the previous year.

The number of incidents in categories of controlled drug offences increased by 9% and weapons and explosives offences rose by 7%.

There was also a total of 10,459 offences recorded for breaches of Covid-19 regulations during the first quarter of the year.

This is a marked increase on 1,090 such offences recorded during last year, which reflects the introduction of a new system of Fixed Payment Notices for breaches of Covid-19 regulations in December 2020.

The figure includes unpaid fines and other offences, but does not include fines which were paid.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns is further evident in the latest Recorded Crime statistics.

The number of criminal offences recorded by gardaí fell sharply in most crime categories.

Sexual offences dropped by just over 3% compared with last year’s figures.

Kidnapping and related offences also dropped by 17%, but the number of weapons and explosives offences increased by 7%.

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Damage to property and to the environment dropped by 11%, while gangland crime was also down.

Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said that Covid-19 continued to “significantly interrupt” crime patterns.

“The number of criminal offences recorded by An Garda Síochána has fallen sharply in most crime categories. This is welcome news,” Humphreys said.

“I would note in particular the significant decreases in burglary offences, which are down 45.4%, theft and related offences, which are down 30.7%, and robbery offences, which are down 26.4%.

“With most people spending so much time at home, shopping limited to essentials, and movement restricted to necessary travel and exercise, the opportunities available to commit such offences were obviously severely curtailed over the last year.

However, as society opens back up, I would urge the public to please exercise caution and follow the simple crime prevention rules in order to keep people safe and keep crime numbers low.

“Changes in people’s movements and activities can impact on the opportunities available to potential offenders and, in turn, the volume and types of crime being committed.

“I urge the public to report all incidents of crime to An Garda Síochána, where it will be forwarded for investigation.

“Crime incidents can be reported in the first instance to the local Garda station or, if more appropriate, the Garda Confidential Line.”

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