BREAKING: Surge in sex crimes reported in South East, but Kilkenny cases plummet
THERE was a significant rise in the number of reported sex crimes in the Garda South East division which covers Kilkenny last year, new figures reveal.
A total of 426 sex offences were recorded in the South East division last year, according to the latest crime figures compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). This is 36 higher than the 390 sex crimes recorded in the division last year – an increase of almost 10% in the space of 12 months.
However, while the number of reported sex crimes in the wider South East region rose in 2018, the figure for the same category of offences decreased significantly in the Kilkenny-Carlow Division since 2016.
Figures obtained by KilkennyNow.ie reveal there were a total of 322 sex crimes reported in Kilkenny and Carlow in 2016. But this figure dropped to just 155 in 2018 – a reduction of almost 50% in two years.
A local Garda source said the anomaly highlights the difficulty in getting a true picture of the timeline of sex crimes.
“It’s very hard to get an accurate figure [for sex crimes] because in many cases the crimes took place years earlier and only came to light when they were reported. Also, some of the cases involve the same perpetrator and the same victim, with multiple cases spanning many years. So it’s hard to say if sexual crime in a particular area is on the increase,” the Garda told KilkennyNow.ie.
Last month a new specialist garda unit was established in Kilkenny specifically to tackle serious sexual crimes, including rape, abuse of children and vulnerable people, and also online exploitation.
The 14-person Divisional Protective Services Unit is headquartered at Kilkenny Garda Station, but it covers all of the Carlow-Kilkenny and Thomastown districts.
The dedicated unit – one of just six in the country – is already up and running and investigating its first cases.
According to the CSO’s latest recorded crime statistics, the number of incidents of fraud and related offences across the country soared by 18.4% in 2018, while reported robberies (+11.3%) and sexual offences (+10.3%) continued to rise. However, the numbers of homicides (-10.8%), burglaries (-11.5%) and criminal damage offences (-7.2%) decreased in last year compared to 2017.
Commenting on the findings, CSO statistician Sam Scriven said: “The publication of the latest Recorded Crime statistics provides the best available measure of crime reported in Ireland while informing users of concerns regarding the quality of the underlying data. The statistics show increases in the reporting of fraud and sexual offences. The numbers of burglaries and theft incidents both fell although there was a rise in the numbers of reported robberies.”