Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Decline in burglaries welcomed

Burglaries dropped by almost nine per cent in the year to the end of June
Burglaries dropped by almost nine per cent in the year to the end of June
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he was pleased with the recent crime figures

Burglary numbers continue to fall as official figures show an overall drop in crime levels.

Break-ins dropped by almost 9% to 26,211 in the year to the end of June, but thefts rose by less than 1% to 77,022, including 5,729 thefts from a person which soared by a third.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) recorded a fall in 12 out of 14 types of crime, with the deaths of 20 people by suspected dangerous drivers leading to a 1.5% increase in killings, with 68 recorded over the year.

Sex offences, attempted murders, harassment and robberies also fell.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said there had been an overall reduction in crime by over 20,000 offences across most categories.

He highlighted the fall in weapons and explosives offences, down 13.9%, in controlled drugs offences, down 12.6%, and in kidnapping and related offences, down 12.5%.

"The figures show that those involved in criminal gangs and the evil drugs trade which they ply are being robustly opposed and this will continue as long as they pose a threat to our communities," the minister said.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he was pleased with the figures.

"We've had a tremendous campaign over the last 18 months or so to try and deal with the prolific increase in burglaries that has been occurring for many, many years now," he said.

"It's no accident that since we started this campaign we've had almost 6,000 arrests and over 3,500 people brought before the courts.

"So that's very significant and I'm very pleased to see that the increase in burglaries that had been here for the last couple of years is on the decline."

Mr Shatter raised concerns over the rise in the number of thefts from people, which he said included the phenomenon of mobile phone theft.

But he maintained decreases in public order offences showed gardai are continuing to tackle anti-social behaviour and work with local communities.

The CSO also recorded a 40% drop in incidents of robberies of cash or goods in transit, down to 32, a 15% fall in dangerous acts, and a 10% drop in fraud, deception and related offences.

Incidents of drink driving and drug driving also fell by 15% and 25% respectively.

Mr Callinan said his force will continue to combat crime in all its forms, including serious crimes.

"Our continued commitment to deal with the significant threat posed by dissident groups is reflected in the recent discovery over the weekend," he said on the seizure of firearms, ammunition and explosive components in Meelick, Co Clare.

"It is through targeted intelligence-led operations such as these that we can most effectively disrupt subversive and criminal gangs and ensure that benefits are seen by lawful citizens going about their daily business on the streets of the cities and towns of the country."

Elsewhere Mr Shatter said a controversial new database of DNA samples from convicted criminals and suspects in serious crimes will allow gardai to link crimes and identify suspects for unsolved crimes.

"This new legislation which I have made a priority since assuming office will be invaluable to the gardai," he added.

"The intelligence generated will substantially assist the gardai in the investigation of a wide range of crimes including many serious crimes such as homicide and sexual offences.

"It will also be of substantial help in the investigation of cold cases and will facilitate greater cooperation with other police forces across the European Union in tackling international crime and illegal cross border activities."

The Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013 allows for officials to take mouth swabs or hair follicles from suspects and convicted criminals, including sex offenders.

Their DNA profile would be added to a database which will also include samples from unsolved crimes.

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