Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Rise in number of raids and kidnaps

Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences jumped by a fifth in the last year

Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences jumped by a fifth over the last year, it has emerged.

Burglaries, theft and fraud also soared in recent months, while the numbers of drug offences, assaults and attempts or threats to murder dropped.

A 22% jump in sexual offences recorded in the 12 months up to the end of March was mainly due to an ongoing review of all older cases, the Central Statistics Office said.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he was aware of the misery which burglaries can cause for people. He added that he has been assured that Garda management is constantly reviewing strategies to tackle this offence.

"The commitment contained in the Programme for Government to increase community policing is of particular importance as an active deterrent in such crimes," he said.

Elsewhere figures calculating crimes from 2005-2009 showed a 97% rise in kidnapping and related offences after human trafficking violations were added to the group in 2008.

Of the 146 offences recorded in 2009, 84 were false imprisonment, 13 were abduction of a child and the remainder human trafficking offences. Drug offences increased by almost two thirds and weapons and explosives offences rose by 59% since fireworks offences were added.

On the other hand sexual offences decreased by almost one fifth and murders and manslaughters fell by 30%.

Business groups called for the official Garda crime statistics to register attacks against firms separately. Mark Fielding, of ISME (Irish Small & Medium Enterprises), said criminal activity against business had increased.

"One in three businesses was affected by crime last year and businesses are twice as likely to be the victims of crime as individuals. This confirms that the situation is far worse than that portrayed in the CSO statistics," he said. "The fact that these crimes are viewed as victimless means that they are not taken seriously."

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