Crime stats show burglary rates have fallen by more than 30%

There was also a drop in weapons and explosives offences

Crime stats show burglary rates have fallen by more than 30%

Armed gardaí on the streets of Dublin city

New figures show the rate of burglaries in Ireland have fallen by 31% since last year.

The annual crime numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also show the number of incidents of damage to property dropped by 15.7%.

There was also a considerable drop in weapons and explosives offences - down 12.5%.

While the number of sexual offences rose by 6.6% compared to the previous period.

Dangerous or negligent acts also increased by 4.9% - this figure was driven mainly by an increase of 6.1% in the number of people driving while over the legal limit.

In a five year period - from 2012 to 2016 - the number of offences against government, justice procedures and organisation of crime increased from 9,721 to 11,661.

This represents an increase of 20%.

Meanwhile there was a drop of 33.1% in public order and other social code offences - and 32% in the number of burglary and related offences in the corresponding period.

The CSO adds: "It is noteworthy that although there is a drop of 1.1% in the number of attempts or threats to murder, assaults harassments and related offences recorded nationally in the 12 months ending Quarter 3 2016, there is an increase of 4.2% in the number of these incidents recorded in the Dublin Metropolitan region.

"Controlled drug offences are down 6.8% in the capital but figures for the State as a whole are up 4.3% as a result of increases of 32.6% and 19.6% the Eastern and South Eastern regions respectively."

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the drop in the level of burglary crime.

She said: "An Garda Síochána continue to achieve impressive results in their sustained drive against burglars under Operation Thor, which is powered by increased resources provided by the Government and supported by new legislation which I introduced this time last year, targeting repeat burglary offenders."

On a 6.1% increase in drink-driving offences, Ms Fitzgerald added: "It is simply not acceptable for anyone to drink and drive. No one can say they are unaware of the potential consequences.

"No more families should have to needlessly experience this time of year as one of great sadness and loss because of drink-driving."