Instances of recorded crime in Dundalk has fallen by 28% in the last decade, according to new Official Crime Statistics released last week.
However, new figures indicate that Gardai in the town have dealt with a huge increase in drug and sexual related offences in recent years.
The figures, released by the Central Statistics Office, have been made public for the first time in 12 months. In March 2017, the decision was taken by the CSO to suspend publication of the numbers as they had raised concerns in relation to some figures being supplied by An Garda Síochána, specifically related to the categorisation of homicide statistics.
The new batch of statistics have been released by the CSO as ‘Under Reservation’ indicating that the quality of the statistics do not meet the standards required of official statistics published by the CSO.
However, the figures do indicate a steep decrease in the number of recorded crimes by officers at Dundalk Garda Station in the last ten years.
2,545 crimes were recorded at Dundalk Garda Station in 2017 – compared to 3,548 in 2007, a drop of 1,003.
Instances of theft, public order offences and dangerous and negligent acts have seen considerable decreases since 2007.
Recorded thefts are down 22%, while public order offences are down 27% - from 594 in 2007 to 436 in 2017.
Crimes described as ‘Dangerous and Negligent Acts’, which include motoring offences such as speeding and dangerous driving, have dropped by a mammoth 63%.
There were 271 instances in 2007 but just 99 last year.
Recorded offences of fraud and deception stood at 85 in 2017, a drop of 80 in the last decade.
However, crimes classified as attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and other related offences have almost doubled in Dundalk in the last 10 years – increasing from 227 in 2007 to 337 for the year ending last December.
Drug related offences recorded at Dundalk Garda Station have trebled since 2013.
Five years ago, there were 61 such crimes recorded, compared to 180 last year.
The latest tranche of statistics also paint a stark picture when it comes to the number of sexual assault and rape incidents recorded by Gardai in Louth last year.
Across the Louth Garda Division in 2017, 108 sexual offences and 88 instances of rape or sexual assault were recorded by officers.
That compares to 50 instances of sexual offences and 44 instances of rape or sexual assault in 2007 – an increase of 108%
“The rise in the recorded incidents of sexual assault is something this Government is taking very seriously,” Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said.
“However, I would also make the point that an increase in recorded incidents of sexual assault can also indicate an increase in the reporting of sexual crimes.
“I would continue to encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to come forward and report the incident to the Gardai.”