Nearly two-thirds of people have "no fears” or "very few fears” about local crime, a new Garda survey has found.
The Garda 2022 Public Attitudes Survey, published this morning, finds that 63% of people have "no fear" or "very few fears” about local crime.
Just under half of respondents said they did not worry about becoming a victim of crime, while a fear of crime had no impact on the quality of life of 58% of participants.
The survey was conducted between August and December of 2022, and polled 7,699 people.
Local vs national
Almost 80% of people said local crime was not a serious problem, while 45% believed local crime was "not a problem” at all.
This is higher than in both 2018 and 2019 (31% and 32% respectively) but has dropped one percent from 46% in 2021.
In contrast, national crime continues to be viewed as more of a problem – with perceptions of national crime as being a ‘very serious’ or ‘serious’ problem increasing by 3% to 73% since 2021.
Meanwhile, overall satisfaction with the Gardaí has dropped a further 3% since 2021 – a continuation of a downward trend since 2018.
While 75% of respondents were either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘quite satisfied’ with Garda service to their local communities, figures from 2018 and 2019 show 80% of respondents were satisfied in the past.
In line with the results from 2018, 2019 and 2021, trust in An Garda Síochána was at 90%.
Three-quarters of respondents said they were satisfied with Garda services provided to local communities.
The highest level of satisfaction with Garda service was greatest for those aged 65 years and older and for 18 to 24-year-olds (78% and 80% respectively).
Nine-in-10 respondents believed they would be treated with respect if they had any contact with An Garda Síochána, while 75% said Gardaí would treat a person fairly.
Across all genders, ages and nationalities, respondents said sexual offences should be the top policing priority – with 91% overall rating it number one.
Second to this, domestic abuse was rated as a top priority by 89% of those polled. Human trafficking, illegal weapons and assaults also featured highly.
In 2022, 79% agreed that An Garda Síochána is focused on human rights.
A large portion of participants agreed that An Garda Síochána is community-focused (73%), effective in tackling crime (65%), and modern and progressive (73%).
Awareness of Garda patrols had been on the rise between 2018 and 2021 (38%, 39% and 49% respectively), however, this decreased to 43% in 2022.
Awareness of Garda patrols was the lowest in Dublin (35%), and highest in Connaught or Ulster (56%).
Over half (52%) of respondents reported regularly seeing Gardaí in patrol cars, while only 7% reported regularly seeing Gardaí patrol by foot.
Speaking on the publication of the survey, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said "protecting victims of crime" and continuing to "strengthen our trusted relationship with the communities that we serve" are increasingly important for An Garda Síochána.
Commissioner Harris said Garda personnel "work hard every day in what can at times be a difficult policing environment".
"Capturing the views of young people and their knowledge and experience of An Garda Síochána has been very useful for our organisation.
"The survey shows that most victims are satisfied with the service they receive from An Garda Síochána, but we must continue in our efforts to improve our service to victims, particularly in keeping them fully informed on how their case is progressing. We are taking steps to improve this.
"Our ability to maintain one of the highest levels of public trust in a police service in the world, which is underscored by this survey, is an essential component of modern policing and in achieving our mission of keeping people safe.”
Gardaí spoke to 7,699 people aged 18 years and over and 389 people aged between 16 and 17-years-old in the second half of 2022 for the survey.
After being discontinued in 2008, the survey was relaunched in 2014, and has been conducted every year since.