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.
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 there is no evidence to indicate the decrease in the number of indictable offences recorded by the Garda in 1996 is associated or connected with a decrease in the level of reporting of such offences by the public.