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Only half of sex crimes in Ireland resolved, figures show

Published 27/11/2015

Garda figures show a 35% jump in recorded sexual offences
Garda figures show a 35% jump in recorded sexual offences

Only half of sex crimes in Ireland are detected, latest official figures indicate.

While most criminal activity is falling, there has been a 35% jump in recorded sexual offences over a four year period.

Officials have urged caution in interpreting the rise - up from 1,480 in 2009 to 2,010 in 2013 - because a number are historic or are being reinvestigated.

However, the figures show clearly a declining rate of cases, mostly rape and sexual assault, being resolved through the courts.

In 2009, gardai said they detected, or closed, just under six in every ten sex crime case.

That rate has slid to slightly over half of all sexual offences being detected by 2013.

The actual figure could be much lower, as the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed earlier this year it disagreed with official Garda detection figures.

In an investigation of cases, the CSO said the Garda had wrongly classified 35% of cases as resolved.

A CSO spokesman said this issue has yet to be resolved and a warning remains over the Garda figures.

A pattern of declining detection rates is repeated in a number of other serious crimes over the same period, including robbery, burglary, fraud and deception.

Just a fifth of burglaries were resolved in 2013, the latest year with full figures.

Less than half of robberies, a third of thefts and less than two thirds of attempted murders and assaults were detected.

Detection rates for murder remains high, at 84%, while most drugs, weapons, motoring and public order offences are resolved.

The latest CSO figures also show a 13% rise in robbery, extortion and hijacking offences between 2009 and 2013.

But the overall trend is one of declining criminal offences.

Crimes are categorised into 16 groups for official purposes.

Of these, there was a drop in offences in 12 of the groups - a number of them showing dramatic decreases.

Drugs, weapons and explosives as well as damage to property and environment crimes were all down by nearly a third.

Organised crime, attempted murder, assault and kidnapping all dropped sharply, while murder was also down 6%.

Public order nosedived 36% while road and traffic offences plunged by almost half.

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