Frances Fitzgerald, Local TD and Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, today highlighted a drop of 31% in the level of burglary crime, continuing the positive trend shown in CSO figures for the first half of 2016.
She said: “An Garda Síochána continue to achieve impressive results in their sustained drive against burglars under Operation Thor, which is powered by increased resources provided by the Government and supported by new legislation which I introduced this time last year, targeting repeat burglary offenders. The Government remains absolutely committed to supporting Garda efforts to combat crime including Operation Thor. It is encouraging that the regional breakdown of the CSO figures shows that Operation Thor is benefitting communities right across the country.”
“Burglary is a terrible and invasive crime and we will continue this crackdown to ensure the safety and security of people in their homes all over Ireland.”
Crime prevention is also an important element in the Garda drive against burglars and, with Christmas approaching, Fitzgerald reminded people to take care of their property and to heed Garda advice to “Lock up and Light up” their homes to deter burglars.
The new CSO statistics compare crime trends for the twelve months ending 30 September 2016 with the previous twelve-month period. In addition to the big drop in burglary there have been welcome reductions in other categories of property crime, including Theft, down 14.6% and Robbery down 11.1%. Overall, nine out of the fourteen crime categories in the CSO classification showed a decrease.
However, some categories showed small scale increases, including a 6.1% increase in drink-driving offences. Echoing recent calls from the Gardai and the Road Safety Authority Fitzgerald commented, “It is simply not acceptable for anyone to drink and drive. No one can say they are unaware of the potential consequences. No more families should have to needlessly experience this time of year as one of great sadness and loss because of drink-driving.”
In relation to drugs offences, she highlighted recent Garda successes in the ongoing battle against organised crime including several major drug seizures, with support from the Garda Special Crime Task Force which was established in Dublin earlier this year to target crime gangs and the proceeds of crime.
Re-affirming Government commitment to tackle crime and dismantle criminal networks Fitzgerald paid tribute to the “…consistent, professional, and often heroic efforts of the men and women of An Garda Síochána who are unceasing in their commitment to communities up and down the country.”
Referring to the 6.6% increase in sexual offences, the Tánaiste highlighted the recent debates on the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill which she hopes to see enacted in early 2017. The Tánaiste has prioritised this new legislation, with wide ranging provisions incorporating enhanced protections for victims of sexual offences in the criminal process as well as measures to enhance the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
Fitzgerald also highlighted other upcoming legislation which is designed to deal more effectively with criminal behaviour and support communities and victims of crime, including the recently published proposals to strengthen the operation of the Bail system as well as the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill which will fulfil a Programme for Government commitment to enact legislation to strengthen the rights of victims of crime and their families.