Only one in ten sexual offences reported to the Garda last year have been solved, new data from the Central Statistics Office reveals.
The detection rate for sex crimes, of 11 per cent, is the lowest of any crime type. In other crime categories the Garda has a much better record, with detection rates of up to 85 per cent.
The highest rate of detection, at 85 per cent, is for drugs offences. The detection rate for murder-manslaughter is 72 per cent.
The figures form part of new CSO recorded crime detection statistics published on Tuesday. The CSO suspended publication of such data in 2016 due to concerns over the accuracy of record keeping by the Garda.
The detection rates by the end of August this year for crimes reported to the Garda in 2018 were as follows:
* Controlled drug offences: 85 per cent;
* Dangerous or negligent acts: 84 per cent;
* Public order and other social code offences: 81 per cent;
* Homicide and related offences: 75 per cent;
* Weapons and explosives offences: 75 per cent;
* Offences against government, justice procedures and organisation of crime: 58 per cent;
* Kidnapping and related offences: 33 per cent;
* Theft and related offences: 33 per cent;
* Attempts/threats to murder, assaults, harassments: 32 per cent;
* Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences: 26 per cent;
* Fraud, deception and related offences: 21 per cent;
* Damage to property and to the environment: 19 per cent;
* Burglary and related offences: 16 per cent;
* Sexual offences: 11 per cent.
Under crime counting rules in place for decades, Garda members had total discretion in marking a crime as “detected”, or solved, on the force’s Pulse crime database. That discretion meant that even for those offences where no suspect was ever charge or even arrested, they could be recorded as “detected”.
However, as part of a process by the CSO and Garda to improve the Garda’s crime counting and classification systems, new criteria must be met before a crime being investigated by the Garda could be marked as “detected”.
Under the new system a crime can only be marked as detected if some form or sanction has been imposed on an offender.
Once the criteria is met, the crime database on which crimes are inputted automatically classifies those offences as “detected”. Gardaí can no longer manually access a record of a crime and change an offence to detected.
CSO statistician Sam Scriven said: “The decision to resume publication of crime detection statistics now is based on ongoing demand for these statistics from users and, importantly, in response to new data governance controls introduced by An Garda Síochána specifically targeted at improving data quality in the recording of detections.
“The new governance controls support more reliable data outputs.
“However, It is important for users to understand, however, that the improved data quality constitutes a significant break-in-series for measuring crime detection rates in Ireland. Therefore 2018 detection rates published today cannot be compared with figures published from before this change.”