Attacks have risen above pre-pandemic levels in more than a dozen boroughs, with Dublin reporting a drop in attacks across the city.
n Analysis of crime figures by the Irish Independent shows that many counties with large cities have seen an increase in attacks in recent months.
However, crime has fallen in five of Dublin Garda’s six divisions compared to before Covid restrictions were imposed.
A total of 15 counties have seen an increase in assaults in the 12 months ended March this year compared to the same period through March 2020, when the pandemic began.
The highest percentage increase in assaults was in Wexford, at 20 per cent, where 526 assaults were reported last year, compared with 442 incidents at a time before the Covid restrictions.
Wexford Mayor Labor Councilor Maura Bell said there had been a problem with anti-social behavior but more Gardaí were being brought onto the streets. She said Wexford Town is “a safe town”.
Significant increases have also been recorded in Louth, Galway and Waterford, where reporting of assault related offenses has risen by 16 per cent.
The Garda Division, which oversees Laois and Offaly counties, also reported 95 more incidents last year than before the pandemic, resulting in a 15.5 percent increase.
The county with the largest drop in attacks was Donegal, which recorded 590 attacks compared to 706 over the period analysed.
This represents a decrease of 16.5 percent, followed by Wicklow (-16 percent), Roscommon and Longford (-15 percent) and Clare (-13.5 percent).
A number of high-profile attacks have also been reported in the capital in recent months, although figures show incidents have fallen compared to pre-pandemic rates.
While Dublin still has by far the highest number of reported crimes due to its population, the number of recorded incidents has fallen by 7.5 per cent.
In total, through March, there were 5,927 attacks, equivalent to 16 per day, compared to 6,417 reported the year before the pandemic.
During this period, five divisions in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) saw a decrease in assaults.
The only division to see an increase in crime was the DMR West Division, which patrols an area stretching between Finglas, Lucan and Clondalkin, with a slight increase of just over 2 per cent.
It shows that attacks outside the capital are far more likely to have increased.
The biggest drop in attacks was reported in the DMR South Central Division, which patrols busy downtown areas such as Grafton Street, South William Street and Camden Street.
Attacks are down 18 percent over the period analyzed, with the division that patrols the northern downtown also reporting an 11.5 percent drop.
It follows the launch of Operation Citizen last October, which focuses on reducing assaults, public order incidents and street crime in the city centre.
As part of the operation, more than 100 Gardaí patrol the area every weekend evening, including 20 Gardaí on bicycle patrols and 24 members of mobile patrols.
A dedicated unit was established as part of the operation, supported by public order units.
Figures up to June show assaults across Dublin are up 23 per cent year-on-year, although this is compared to a period when restrictions were regularly in place.
In the first six months of 2022, a total of 3,594 incidents were recorded in the Garda Pulse system as part of Operation Citizen. Almost 1,300 of these were criminal offenses, while just over 2,300 were recorded as non-criminal, including intelligence.
Garda figures show crimes against the person had gradually increased over the three years to 2020, but
had plateaued largely due to the introduction of Covid restrictions.
The changes in assault numbers are largely due to assaults in public places,
with reduced public mobility and the closure of licensed premises having repercussions
on those numbers during the pandemic.
A separate initiative, Operation Limmat, was also launched in Dublin to “coordinate a strategy to reduce assaults in public places”.
Gardaí have described this as an “arrest and early investigation approach” and provided high visibility policing in public places to act as a deterrent to prevent assaults and reduce such crimes.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/significant-rise-in-number-of-assaults-in-many-counties-despite-fall-in-dublin-41886198.html ‘Significant increase’ in number of assaults in many boroughs despite decrease in Dublin