Written Answers. - Crime Reporting.

David Andrews

Question:

59 Mr. Andrews asked the Minister for Justice the steps, if any, she has taken to establish whether any fall-off has occurred in the reporting of crime and particularly petty crime to the Gardaí which is thereby distorting Garda crime figures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9099/97]

The crime rate is usually measured with reference to the number of indictable offences reported or known to the Garda, i.e. those offences which must be tried before a judge and jury in the Circuit Court. Summary offences, i.e., those offences which are dealt with at district court level — these are in the main traffic related offences and the less-serious criminal offences — are not included. This measurement of crime is in accordance with standard international practice and has always been used in this jurisdiction.

As the Deputy will probably be aware, provisional Garda statistics for 1996 indicate that the number of indictable offences reported or known to the Garda decreased in comparison to the 1995 figure. I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is no evidence to indicate that the decrease in the number of indictable offences recorded by the Garda in 1996 is in any way associated or connected with a decrease in the level of the reporting of such offences by the general public.