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Written Answers. - Crime Levels.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 49. Mr. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  the steps he intends to take to address the serious public concern regarding crime levels reflected in the survey undertaken by research and evaluation services on behalf of the gardaí, which showed that 44% of respondents felt less safe than in 1996 and a quarter less safe than in 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18487/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell First of all I can inform the Deputy that I welcome this survey as it adds to our sources of crime data and this, in conjunction with reported crime statistics, gives us a clearer picture of the nature and incidence of crime which concerns members of the public. I am satisfied the findings of the survey in relation to what the general public believe the response to crime reflects the Government's approach in this matter. While I accept that the increase in recorded crime in 2001 as shown in the recent Garda figures is disappointing, I am committed to putting a comprehensive series of measures in place to address the situation. I have outlined these measures in some detail in my response to Question No. 44 of today's.

In order to enhance our knowledge of crime and victimisation, and to inform policy on this matter, the Deputy may be aware that I have obtained Government approval to have a national crime victimisation survey conducted independently at regular intervals from 2004 onwards. I should point out, however, that direct comparisons are not possible between crime surveys and actual recorded crime statistics for a number of reasons, one being that crime surveys may take account of both reported and unre[1162] ported crime, and another that perceptions of safety in such surveys may be influenced by a number of other factors as well as the fear of crime. Another major consideration is that, unlike Garda recorded crime statistics where it is possible to monitor trends over time, crime surveys are a relatively new phenomena in an Irish context which makes comparisons with previous years problematic. Despite the particular statistics which the Deputy quotes from the survey there are a number of more positive findings in the survey: for example, seven out of ten respondents said that they feel safe out walking in their neighbourhood after dark and the vast majority feel secure alone in their homes at night.

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