Official figures show that there was an increase in most types of crime in the year to the end of March 2022, with the number of fraud incidents recorded almost doubling.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said that there were 17,354 fraud incidents logged in an Garda Síochána’s (AGS) PULSE database during the 12-month period – up 88% from a year earlier.
The rise was mainly due to unauthorised transactions, and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone.
COVID-19 offences plummet
The highest rates of increase in other areas were in kidnapping and related offences (up 38%), offences against Government, justice procedures, and organisation of crime (24%), assault (19%), and sexual offences (13%).
Homicide and related offences fell by 38%, however, while drug offences were down 26%. Offences linked to weapons and explosives also dropped, by 15%.
The CSO pointed out that, in some categories, the figures for 2020 and 2021 were likely to have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
In the first quarter of this year, just 85 offences were recorded on PULSE for breaches of COVID-19 regulations, compared with 311 offences in the final quarter of 2021. This figure fell significantly throughout 2021 as restrictions were eased, according to the CSO.
CSO awaits CAD probe
For the first quarter of 2022 alone, theft offences jumped by 43% compared with the same period in 2021, while the category that included attempts or threats to murder, assaults, and harassments increased by 40%. Burglary increased by almost 36%.
There were 11 homicide offences recorded, compared with 15 a year earlier, while drug offences were down 37%.
CSO statistician Jim Dalton said that it was awaiting the final outcome of internal AGS investigations into the inappropriate cancellation of calls on its Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
Dalton said that figures from an interim AGS investigation that focused on the most serious crimes, dating back to 2019, indicated that the issue had had “a very small effect” on crime statistics for the period in question.
The CSO still categorises the crime figures as ‘statistics under reservation’, due to concerns about the quality of data from PULSE.