The number of sex crimes reported to gardaí increased by over 10 per cent for the year to the end of June, according to latest data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The figures also show significant rises in the number of reported robberies and in breaches of court orders including domestic violence and bail conditions. Overall, nine of 14 categories of crime reported to the Garda increased during the 12 month period.
It is the third set of quarterly data published by the CSO since the suspension of crime statistics last year following concerns over how some offences had been categorised on the Garda Pulse system.
Since then, the data has been published with an “under reservation” caveat, meaning its reliability is qualified. The CSO and Garda management are currently working to establish a robust system that would allow that classification to be removed, a process likely to take at least another year.
The data, which covers the year to the end of last June, shows increases in several areas, from sexual offences (10.2 per cent), to robbery, including extortion and hijacking (15.1 per cent).
Bail and domestic violence
There were 2,947 sexual offences reported to the end of June, compared to 2,675 over the previous 12 months, an additional 272 incidents.
There were also rises in the number of “offences against government” crimes (13.1 per cent), which cover breaches of bail and domestics violence orders handed down by courts. These rose from 12,565 to 14,205.
Homicides remained unchanged with 77 recorded in each of the two 12 month periods.
The number of weapons and explosives offences increase by 10.7 per cent; and attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences increased by 8.3 per cent.
There were less significant rises in the numbers of public order and social offences (4.3 per cent), controlled drug offences (3.6 per cent), and theft (2 per cent).
Kidnapping instances fell by 18.1 per cent (from 127 to 104) but of the 14 designated categories, just four declined – the others being damage to property and the environment (3 per cent), fraud and deception (2.5 per cent), and burglary (0.8 per cent).
Although volumes fell, theft was still the most common crime with 68,248 recorded over the period. They were followed by public order offences at 31,320 reported incidents.
“In March, the CSO resumed publication of recorded crime statistics using the category of ‘statistics under reservation’ to provide the best available measure of police-recorded crime in Ireland while informing users of their concerns regarding the quality of the underlying data,” explained statistician Olive Loughnane.
That category will remain in place until the CSO is “satisfied that the level of accuracy and completeness of the underlying data is of sufficient quality”.
In June, 2017 when crime statistics for the first quarter of the year were due to be published, the CSO announced it had decided to suspend.
That followed an earlier meeting between An Garda Siochana and the Policing Authority where it emerged that 41 homicides between 2013 and 2015 were reviewed when garda analysts found issues around classification. Some murders committed in a domestic setting had been classified as non-fatal offences against the person.
The reporting of crime data was further postponed the following September.