'Staggering' figures show 42pc spike in burglaries in one area
Burglaries in some parts of south Dublin increased by up to 42pc in a 12-month period, figures from the Central Statistics Office have revealed.
Nationally, there has been a 7pc increase in burglaries between September 2014 and September 2015.
In the Dublin Metropolitan Eastern Garda Division, which covers Dun Laoghaire, the number of burglaries has increased in the past year from 1,652 to 2,349.
A tougher approach to the problem of burglaries must be launched by the Government, said Dun Laoghaire Councillor Mary Hanafin.
The former Fianna Fail minister said stronger action is needed following the release of the latest burglary figures.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures revealed a "startling increase" in the number of burglaries carried out over the past year, she said.
She said the 42pc rise in the number of burglaries in the south-Dublin area alone was "staggering".
She said some other parts of the country had also had "truly alarming" increases in the numbers of break-ins by criminals.
"The rise in burglaries in certain parts of south Dublin represented an increase which was seven times the national average," said Cllr Hanafin, who is chairwoman of the Joint Policing Committee on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council.
"It is no surprise that many of the areas affected have seen a drop in garda numbers over recent years," said Cllr Hanafin, a candidate for Fianna Fail in the forthcoming general election.
"Recently in the Dail the Minister for Justice rejected Fianna Fail proposals for mandatory three-year sentences for criminals convicted of burglary.
"The minister also refused to accept a Fianna Fail proposal for a minimum seven-year jail term for a third burglary conviction," she said.
During 2015, there was a total of 28,407 burglary offences nationally recorded up to September, representing an increase of 1,660, or 6.2pc, when compared with the corresponding period in the previous year.
When aggravated burglaries are excluded - these are robberies where weapons and violence is used - the figures show that there were 27,494 burglaries, or 75 every day, in the year up to the end of September.
In the first six months of 2015, burglary rates per head of population were highest in commuter counties around Dublin and lowest in more inaccessible parts.
Wexford had the highest burglary rates. Dublin ranks second highest, at 249 incidents per 100,000.
It is followed by Kildare (241), Louth (234), Wicklow (222), Laois (210), Waterford (194), Carlow (192), Offaly (150) and Kilkenny (146). The lowest rates are in Monaghan (31), Leitrim (43), Donegal (49) and Mayo (51).
In general terms, there are between 235 and 400 burglaries per 100,000 population across Dublin - except in the Pearse Street and Clondalkin areas, which have higher rates.
The burglary rate is lower in the Cabra, Blanchardstown, Finglas, Swords, Coolock, Raheny and Howth sub-districts than on all parts of the southside.
However, a Department of Justice spokesman said the latest CSO statistics published last week show that burglaries are down 6.8pc for the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year.
The Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill targets those repeat burglars with previous convictions and who are charged with multiple offences of residential burglary.
The bill will require consecutive jail sentences where a burglar is being sentenced for multiple offences. It will also compel courts to refuse bail for offenders who have a previous conviction for domestic burglary coupled with two or more pending charges, he said.