Garda Survey Finds Decrease In Fear Of Crime & High Level Of Trust

The number of people who said they were victims of crime has fallen over the last year, according to the latest An Garda Síochána's Public Attitudes Survey, which has been published for the first time.

The survey also found improved satisfaction among victims who reported their crime to Gardaí, and a reduction in the fear of crime.

It also found that 92% of people had mid to high trust in An Garda Síochána in the quarter, and perceptions of the effectiveness and capability of the Garda organisation had improved since the same period a year ago.

Following its debut publication, the survey results will now be published on a quarterly basis by An Garda Síochána.

The Garda Public Attitudes Survey, which is conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of An Garda Síochána, asks a nationally representative sample of 1,500 people each quarter their views on a range of issues relating to An Garda Síochána. The Q1 2017 survey was conducted between January and March of this year.

The margin of error for the survey is 2.53% and as analysis is done on smaller proportions, the margin of error increases. This should be taken into account when examining analysis of victims of crime.

The Public Attitudes Survey is one of a number of tools used by Garda management to determine future organisational and operational activity.

For the first time, the Q1 2017 survey asked respondents whether they felt members of An Garda Síochána would treat them with respect if they had contact with them for any reason. 93% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they would be treated with respect. When asked if Gardaí in their area treat everyone fairly regardless of who they are, 84% of people agreed, while 16% disagreed.

Commenting on the publication, Deputy Commissioner, Policing & Security, John Twomey, said: "These results are a real demonstration of the positive impact on communities of the great work done by our people on a daily basis. The reduction in the number of people who reported their crime to Gardaí and the improvement in satisfaction with the service we provided to victims shows the importance of our strong focus on tackling key crimes and on the victims of crime. We will continue to strive to enhance the service we provide to communities on a daily basis and through our Modernisation and Renewal Programme."

The main findings of An Garda Síochána's Public Attitudes Survey for Q1 2017 are:

Perceptions of Crime

• In Q1 2017, 74% of people perceived national crime to be either a very serious or serious problem down 2% from the same period in 2016. 

• In Q1 2017, 21% of respondents considered crime in their local area to be a very serious or serious problem. This is compared to 27% in Q1 2016.

Victims of Crime

• In Q1 2017, the victimisation rate was 6.9%. This compares with a rate of 9.6% during the same quarter last year.

• Satisfaction among victims of crime who reported their crime to An Garda Síochána rose 16% from 51% in Q1 2016 to 67% in Q1 2017. 

• During Q1 2017, 84% of victims interviewed said they had reported their most recent crime incident compared to 72% in Q1 2016.

• The majority of victims (57%) felt the right amount of information had been provided to them. This is a 16% increase from Q1 2016.

Fear and Worry about Crime

• During Q1 2017 nearly half (48%) of respondents said they did not worry about becoming a victim of crime – this is a 8% increase from Q1 2016.

• Over two thirds (67%) reported that their fear of crime had no impact on their quality of life – this is a 10% increase from Q1 2016.

Garda Visibility

• In Q1 2017, 36% of respondents were aware of Garda patrols in their local area – this is a 3% increase from Q1 2016.

• In Q1 2017, 41% of respondents considered Garda presence in their local area to be at about the right level. This is an increase of 6% from Q1 2016.

Satisfaction with An Garda Síochána

• In Q1 2017, 74% of respondents said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service provided by An Garda Síochána to local communities. This is up 12% from Q1 2016.

Trust in An Garda Síochána

• In Q1 2017, 92% of respondents stated they had a mid to high level of trust in An Garda Síochána. This is an increase of 4% from Q1 2016.

Perceptions of the Garda Organisation

• Between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017 there was an improvement in perceptions of the Garda organisation across all six measures of effectiveness and capability.

• In Q1 2017, 88% of respondents agreed that members of An Garda Síochána were friendly or helpful (up 8% from Q1 2016), 65% agreed that the organisation was community focused (up 9%), 60% thought the organisation was modern or progressive (up 8%), 55% said it was effective in tackling crime (up 7%), 43% said it was well managed (up 1%), and 38% thought An Garda Síochána provides a world-class police service (up 7%).

• There was a decline between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017 in terms of the organisation being community focused (-1%), modern or progressive (-1%), well managed (-2%), providing a world class police service (-2%). It should be noted that these reductions are within the survey's margin of error of 2.53%.


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