herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Number of knife murders doubles in first 8 months

knives
knives

THERE have been more knife murders in the first eight months of this year than in all of 2013, new statistics show.

Knives were blamed for 13 of the murders up to the end of August, just over double the six knife killings in the same period last year.

And shockingly the number of knife deaths has already exceeded the 11 recorded in 2013.

Meanwhile, the overall murder rate in the first eight months of 2014 stands at 42 - a rise of over 7pc on the total of 39 for the corresponding period last year.

Eight of the murders, according to the gardai, were linked to organised crime, similar to last year.

A total of 22 were carried out in the Garda's Dublin region, ten were in the East of the country, four in the South-East, three in the North, two in the South and one in the West.

Despite the rise in the total, the detection rate stands at 61pc - or 26 out of 42 - which is regarded as quite high by international standards.

The rise in knife murders is causing concern among gardai after previous campaigns such as Bin the Blade.

That anti-knife crime campaign was aimed at "connecting" with young males rather than issuing warnings to them.

Titled "How Big do you Feel", the campaign had reached more than 10,000 young people by the end of that year and had the support of sporting organisations like the GAA.

penalty

In another measure legislation was introduced that increased the maximum penalty for possessing a knife in a public place from one to five years.

Gardai were given extended powers of search without warrant for knives and other weapons, and import and sale of samurai swords was banned.

But despite the campaign, the number of knife killings that year jumped by over 50pc.

This year, murders involving firearms dropped from 12 to 11 with handguns the main weapon used.

A further 11 murders have been attributed to physical violence, there were two by blunt instruments while others have not yet been officially classified.

The list for this year includes the death of Margaret 'Margot' Seery in 1994 which was initially classified as "not suspicious".

Gardai launched a fresh investigation after a man walked into a garda station and alleged that he had strangled Ms Seery after a night out in 1994. Her remains were exhumed and it was discovered that a number of her organs were missing.

Also missing was the hyoid bone in her neck, which could have helped determine if Ms Seery had been strangled.

hnews@herald.ie

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