Discipline lack 'cause of crime'
Published 28/02/2013 | 14:02
A lack of parental discipline has been cited by the public as the primary cause of crime in Northern Ireland.
Almost one in four highlighted the issue when asked to identify the single main factor behind criminality in the government-commissioned survey. About 20% said drugs were the main cause of crime while alcohol also featured highly among respondents who took part in the perceptions-of-crime survey last year.
When asked to identify a range of major causes of crime, 71% pointed to drugs, 65% highlighted alcohol and 60% said lack of discipline from parents.
Around three people in five (59%) surveyed said they believed crime levels had risen in the past two years. This perception is different from police statistics indicating crime rates are going down.
But the percentage of those who consider crime to be on the up is falling on past years. Nearly 80% of those questioned in the 2003/04 survey felt crime was on the rise, with 62% in 2010/11.
Comparing surveys carried out across the UK, people in Northern Ireland exhibited higher levels of worry about crime - such as car crime, burglary and violent crime - despite the fact that the rates of such offences were actually lower in the region than in England and Wales.
The survey found many more felt they were likely to be targeted by burglars, car criminals and perpetrators of violent crime than those who actually end up becoming victims. However, two-thirds of those surveyed said fear of crime had only a minimal impact on their lives. Only 5% said such fear greatly affected their lives.
Justice Minister David Ford said the survey indicated that people in Northern Ireland perceived crime levels in the region to be higher than they actually were.
He said: "The results from the NI Crime Survey also show that progress has been made in people's perceptions of crime in Northern Ireland but it is clear there remains a distinct difference between perception and reality. For example, 14% of people thought they may become a victim of burglary when the actual risk is only 2%.
"Addressing the challenges of crime, disorder and fear that communities face in towns, villages and cities across Northern Ireland cannot be achieved by the Department of Justice or the justice system alone; the Executive recognises that many departments have a role to play in making our communities safer."