CITY traders have made a desperate plea for a greater garda presence as they struggle to deal with daily anti-social behaviour.
Gardai are faced with an extraordinary level of pickpocketing, drug dealing and binge drinking, which is horrifying our tourists.
Our exclusive pictures reveal the extreme dangers posed to members of the public in one of the city's main shopping districts.
Gardai on patrol admitted that they have to wear "stab-proof vests".
"The city centre seems to be getting worse and worse every day," one officer told the Herald.
A number of business owners admitted to the Herald that the serious issues have brought them to breaking point.
One business owner, John Caulwell, warned that firms are being devastated by issues like stealing, drug dealing and anti social behaviour.
"We are pleading with the gardai to maintain a greater presence. Things are extremely difficult to make ends meet at the moment and we need much greater support. Two of my staff have been assaulted in recent weeks," he said.
"Crime, pickpocketing and drug dealing is having a devastating effect on the city. We can't have a situation where people are afraid to go into the city because of issues like pick pocketing and drug dealing."
Meanwhile, Richard Guiney, chief executive of Dublin City Business Improvement District (BID), said that "all stakeholders" in the area are determined to thrash out long-term solutions.
"We know there are problems. But we have been working intently behind the scenes with gardai and all other stakeholders to come up with long-term solutions.
"And we are confident we can do that," he told the Herald.
Major pressure is now mounting on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to deal with the out-of-control issues in the city.
It comes as one senator in his own party, Tom Sheahan, told the Herald that he is "afraid" to walk down O'Connell Street on his own.
"The place has gone to hell. It's not safe for young families, the elderly and especially vulnerable tourists," he said.
Fianna Fail justice spokesperson Dara Calleary told the Herald that the issue is having a "serious effect" on tourism and local trade.
"Alan Shatter should get out of his golden tower and head to O'Connell Street and the surrounding areas to see what people have to put up with. Tourists are being driven away and businesses are being crippled."