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Recorded Crime Detection 2019

    These statistics are categorised as Under Reservation. This categorisation indicates that the quality of these statistics do not meet the standards required of official statistics published by the CSO. An Garda Síochána have undertaken to introduce an effective data quality management system for the production of crime statistics and this work is underway. The categorisation of Statistics Under Reservation applies to all statistical outputs sourced from PULSE in the interim.

    For further information please refer to the Under Reservation FAQ page.

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

On-line ISSN: 2711-9971
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Recorded Crime Detection statistics provide a snapshot of the extent to which crime incidents reported to An Garda Síochána (AGS) have been detected. A crime is considered detected when AGS have identified and sanctioned a suspected offender for the crime. The publication is based on data recorded by AGS on its PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) and FCPS (Fixed Charge Penalty System) databases.

Recorded Crime Detection 2019 is the second annual publication of statistics on crime detection since AGS introduced new data governance controls targeted at improving data quality in the recording of detections in 2018. Details on the compilation of these statistics is provided in the Background Notes.

The data governance controls introduced by AGS in 2018 support more reliable statistical outputs. The changes, however, also represent a break-in-series for measuring crime detection rates in Ireland. Detection rates for time periods prior to the introduction of the controls are not comparable with figures published since. Indeed, the timing of the changes (25th Feb 2018) mean that data for reference year 2018 includes a portion of the year where the old system was still in use. Users of the statistics published here should consider this when comparing 2018 with subsequent years.

A crime is considered detected when AGS have identified and sanctioned a suspected offender for the crime. Valid sanctions may include charges and summons, formal and informal cautions, and fixed penalties depending on the offence type. There are some limited circumstances where a detection is permitted even though no suspected offender has been sanctioned. The rules governing crime incident detection are outlined in the Guide to How Crime is Recorded and Counted by An Garda Síochána.

Crime incidents where a suspected offender has not been sanctioned are considered to be ‘not detected’. This occurs in a variety of scenarios, including where no suspect has been identified, where a suspect has been identified but there is insufficient evidence to support prosecution, or where a victim does not support further action. AGS are currently considering changes to how data is collected which could permit a more complete representation of crime incident outcomes. However, this is not possible based on the data currently available.

The time gap between an offence being recorded and a suspected offender being sanctioned is influenced by a variety of factors (e.g. gathering evidence, awaiting laboratory results or awaiting a direction for prosecution), and varies by crime offence type. Hence, crime incident detection rates tend to increase over time before settling. This may take longer than a year for some crime types.

Recorded Crime Detection 2019 publishes ‘initial’ crime incident detection rates for crime incidents recorded in 2019 based on data extracted on the 1st September 2020. See Table 1.1. The gap of eight months following the end of the reference year has been selected to allow publication of statistics in a timely manner while recognising that reasonable time must be allowed for investigations to reach conclusion and for detection rates to begin to settle. The ‘initial’ crime incident detection rates for 2018 incidents, as published last year, are included in Table 1.1 for convenient reference and comparison.

‘Updated’ detection rates for crime incidents recorded in 2018 are also published in Table 1.1. These figures are based on the latest available data. In this case, twenty months have passed since the end of the reference period, allowing more time for additional crimes to become detected. The difference between the 'initial' and 'updated' figure for crimes reported in 2018 reflects additional crimes which were detected between September 2019 and September 2020. This is an important feature in understanding these statistics.

CSO continues to publish recorded crime statistics using the category 'Statistics Under Reservation'. This category is used to reflect ongoing concerns regarding the quality of the data source. See: Statistics Under Reservation FAQs 

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  • The proportion of crime incidents reported in 2019, which were detected by 1st September 2020, varies considerably by crime incident type, from a high of 87.9% of Group 10 (Controlled drug offences) incidents to a low of 12.0% of Group 02 (Sexual offences) incidents. Both figures represent a marginal increase on the equivalent initial detection rates for 2018 incidents published last year; +1 percentage point for Sexual offences, and +2.6 percentage points for Controlled drug offences. See Table 1.1.
  • The difference between the 'initial' and 'updated' detection rates for crimes reported in 2018 reflects additional crimes from 2018 which were detected between September 2019 and September 2020. The greatest increase was for Group 02 (Sexual offences) where the detection rate increased from just over one in ten (11.0%) when measured in September 2019 to closer to one in five (18.7%) when measured in September 2020, an increase of 7.7 percentage points for these offences. See Table 1.1.
  • There is a smaller than 2 percentage point increase for 2018 Group 07 (Burglary and related offences), Group 08 (Theft and related offences), and Group 12 (Damage to property and the environment) incidents between the initial detection rate measured in September 2019 and the updated detection rate measured in September 2020, indicating that the likelihood of achieving a detection for these offence types increases less over time than for other offence groups. As more data becomes available over time, it will be possible to see when detection rates for each offence group largely plateau. See Table 1.1.
Table 1.1 Crime incident detection rates for crimes reported in 2018 and 2019, classified by crime offence group

X-axis labelDetection Rate
01 Homicide Offences65.5
02 Sexual Offences12
03 Attempts/threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences33
06 Robbery, extortion and hijacking Offences26.3
07 Burglary and related Offences14.6
08 Theft and related Offences32.8
10 Controlled drug Offences87.9
12 Damage to property and to the environment20.4
13 Public order and other social code offences84
  • Crime incident detection rates tend to increase over time. The detection rates provided in Table 1.1 for 2019 provide a snapshot of all incidents recorded in the year, based on data extracted on 1st September 2020. Detection rates for incidents reported early in the reference year tend to be higher than those reported late in the reference year, since there has been more time for the investigations to reach a conclusion. The measured detection rate for Group 02 (Sexual offences) incidents reported in 2019 decreased incrementally from 15.0% of incidents reported in Q1 to 7.4% of incidents reported in Q4. See Table 3.2.
  • In many crime offence groups, but most notably in Group 06 (Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences), Group 07 (Burglary and related offences), Group 08 (Theft and related offences) and Group 12 (Damage to property and to the environment), the recorded crime rate (i.e. crimes per 100,000 population) was higher in the Dublin Metropolitan Region than outside Dublin but the detection rate was lower. See Table 4.1.
  • For crimes reported in 2019, most suspected offenders were sanctioned by issuing them with a charge or summons, with it being at least two-thirds in each offence group and more than this for a number of them. All suspected offenders for Group 01 (Homicide) were issued charges or summons, while other offence groups had 80% or more of suspected offenders sanctioned in this way, for example 93% in Group 10 (Controlled drug offences), 89% in Group 06 (Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences), 87% of Group 07 (Burglary and related offences) and 80% in Group 02 (Sexual offences). The proportion of suspected offenders who faced prosecution was lower in what may be regarded as less serious offence types where an alternative sanction was more frequently deemed appropriate, such as in Group 08 (Theft and related offences) incidents (76% charge or summons), Group 12 (Damage to property and to the environment) incidents (71% charge or summons), and Group 13 (Public order and other social code offences) incidents (66% charge or summons). See Table 6.1 and Figure 6.1.
  • Juvenile cautions, which can be used for suitable suspected offenders aged under 18, was the next most common method of sanction (after charge or summons), and was applied to about one in six suspected offenders sanctioned for Group 11 (Weapons and explosives offences) offences and Group 12 (Damage to property and to the environment) offences. See Table 6.1.
  • The offence category for which the highest number of Fixed Charge Notices were issued in 2019 was speeding offences. See Table 7.1.

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