Rise in kidnappings and robberies - report

There was a significant increase in the level of kidnappings, robberies and burglaries and extortion and hijacking in the five years to the end of 2012, an official review of Garda figures has revealed.

While some violent crime fell – reported murders and manslaughters were down 11% over the period and attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences were down by 18% – other types of crime spiked.

Analysis of the Garda intelligence system PULSE revealed that the number of drug offences was down 30% while the amount of offences related to dangerous weapons and explosives fell by 30%.

But a number of headline crime categories saw significant increases including kidnappings up 31%, robbery, extortion and hijacking offences up 23% and burglary and related offences up 14%.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) also said there was a dramatic spike in the level of sexual offences recorded, up 51% between 2008 and 2012, but this is explained by gardaí reviewing cases, many of which are historic and the crime being recorded at the time it is reported rather than the date it occurred.

The several statutory inquiries into clerical abuse may also have a part to play in the increased reporting.

The crime review also revealed road traffic offences were down by 43% over the period while fraud and deception was up 7%, public order and other social code offences were down 29% and offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime were down 29%.

The CSO report showed that in 2012 there were 79 homicides - 60 murders, manslaughters or cases of infanticide and 19 cases of dangerous driving leading to death - up from 66 the previous year but a fall from a high of 89 in 2008.

The Garda has recorded 61 of the 2012 offences as detected meaning court proceedings have at least been initiated.

In the areas of crime which saw a significant increase the CSO report revealed that it had records of 101 kidnapping or related offences in 2012, a slight fall on the previous year, but up from 77 in 2008.

Of the 101 offences, 67 were for false imprisonment and 18 involved the abduction of someone under 16 and the rest were linked to cases of human trafficking.

There were 2,817 robbery, extortion and hijacking offences recorded in 2012 compared with 2,299 in 2008.

The review revealed that the number of robberies jumped from 2,161 to 2,679 in that period while extortion offences went from 22 to 40 and hijackings fell from 116 to 98.

Almost 8% of criminals convicted for offences in the robbery, extortion and hijacking category were under 18, the report said.

Further details showed that the worst rate for robbery was in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, which recorded 146.3 offences per 100,000 people.

There were 28,133 burglary and related offences recorded in 2012 – a small increase on the previous year but a significant jump from the 24,682 reported in 2008.

The CSO said only a small percentage were aggravated, 325 in 2008 which fell to 283 in 2012.

On sexual offences the review showed in 2008 there were 1,406 records of rapes, paedophilia and assaults compared with 2,117 in 2012.

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