Fraud crime in Ireland nearly doubled in the year to the end of March, according to the latest recorded crime statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Some 17,354 incidents were recorded in the 12-month period, compared to just over 9,200 the year before – an increase of 88 per cent.
The CSO said the increase was largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone.
Most other crimes also increased in the same period, with the highest rates of increase seen in kidnapping and related offences, up 38 per cent, and offences against government, justice procedures and organisation of crime, up 24 per cent.
Assault offences also increased by 19 per cent, while sexual offences saw a rise of 13 per cent.
However, homicide and related offences fell by 38 per cent over the year as did controlled drug offences, down 26 per cent, and weapons and explosives offences, down 15 per cent.
Jim Dalton, CSO statistician in the crime and criminal justice section, said the figures for 2020 and 2021 for some crime categories were “likely to have been influenced by the public health restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19.”
He also noted that just 85 offences had been recorded on An Garda Síochána’s database for breaches of Covid-19 regulations in quarter one of 2022, compared to 311 offences in quarter four of 2021.
“The number of offences has significantly reduced from earlier quarters in 2021 where the level of Covid-19 restrictions were much higher compared to the most recent quarters,” he said.
Cancelled 999 calls
The CSO also acknowledged that thousands of cancelled 999 calls, with calls removed from the Garda’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, may have impacted its recorded crime statistics.
However, it said initial analysis of the issue by An Garda Síochana (AGS), focused on the most high-risk crimes dating back to 2019, suggested that the impact was “very small for the period in question”.
“An internal AGS 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 [Garda] system, and are therefore not counted in recorded crime statistics.
“AGS has 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.
“An incident can be validly cancelled, for example, if multiple calls are received for the same incident.
“Of the incidents which should not have been cancelled, 143 would have resulted in a criminal incident being recorded on [the Garda system] PULSE.
“All 143 missing PULSE incidents have since been created. In volume terms, this has a very small effect on published crime statistics for the 21-month period in question.
“The CSO awaits the final outcome of AGS investigations into the issue before it can fully determine the impact on recorded crime statistics. The CSO will issue further updates once this information is available.”