Fraud crimes almost doubled in the last year, driven by phone and online scams, official figures show.
Most other crimes increased over the year, with significant increases in reported kidnapping-related offences, assaults, and sexual offences.
Thefts, robberies, and burglaries also increased, coming off the back of a slowdown in these crimes during the pandemic.
But homicide offences continued to fall, with significant reductions too in recorded drugs and weapons offences.
- Fraud crimes jumped from 9,219 to 17,354 — an increase of 88%;
- Kidnapping offences increased from 126 to 174 — a rise of 38%;
- Assaults increased from 18,429 to 21,904 — a hike of 19%;
- Sexual offences rose from 3,106 to 3,493 — an increase of 12.5%;
- Thefts increased from 46,400 to 51,099 — a rise of 10%;
- Robberies rose from 1,696 to 1,812 — an increase of 7%;
- Burglaries went from 8,933 to 9,270 — a rise of 4%.
There was a 24% increase in the category of ‘Offences against the Government and Justice Procedures’ (mainly breach of court orders and offences while in custody), as well as a 6% rise in criminal damage offences.
Within the ‘assault’ category, there was a 30% increase in serious assaults, an 18% rise in other assaults, a 9% rise in threats to kill or causing serious harm, and a 7% increase in harassment cases.
Within the ‘sexual offences’ category, there was a 22% increase in rape of a female or male.
Homicide offences are down 38%, from 66 to 41, mainly driven by a fall in equal measure of 11 in ‘dangerous driving leading to death’ and ‘murder’ incidents over this period.
Drug offences are down 26% and weapons offences dropped 15% The report said just 85 offences were recorded on An Garda Síochána’s Pulse database for breaches of Covid-19 regulations in the first quarter 2022, compared to almost 10,400 during the same period in 2021.
Commenting on the release, Jim Dalton, statistician in the Crime & Criminal Justice Section, said: “Recorded crime statistics for the year ending in March 2022 showed that the number of fraud incidents recorded on An Garda Síochána’s Pulse database nearly doubled over the period.
“There were 17,354 frauds recorded in the 12-month period compared to just 9,219 in the previous year, an increase of 88%. The increase was largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone.”
Recorded crime statistics continue to be published as statistics “under reservation”, which means the CSO has ongoing concerns at the quality of the underlying data.
The CSO report also refers to the impact of the Garda cancellation of 999 calls or Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) incidents.
“An internal AGS [An Garda Síochána] investigation into the inappropriate cancellation of calls on its CAD system is continuing,” Mr Dalton said.
“The premature or improper cancellation of incidents on the CAD system may mean that records relating to crimes, which were reported to AGS, were not created on the Pulse system, and are therefore not counted in recorded crime statistics.”
He said An Garda Síochána had carried out an interim investigation which focused only on the most serious high risk crimes.
“These mainly related to domestic violence, sexual assault, health and missing persons, which covered the cancellation of about 6,000 incidents dating back to 2019,” he said, pointing out that an incident can be validly cancelled, for example, if multiple calls are received for the same incident.
He said of the incidents which should not have been cancelled, 143 would have resulted in a criminal incident being recorded on Pulse, which has now been done.
“In volume terms, this has a very small effect on published crime statistics for the 21-month period in question,” Mr Dalton said.
“The CSO awaits the final outcome of AGS investigations into the issue before it can fully determine the impact on recorded crime statistics.”
The Policing Authority is also conducting an investigation into the CAD cases.
Garda fraud advice is available here.