I decided to write this article after a recent trip back to America. On the plane going over, I got chatting to the guy next to me, and the topic of my recent international move came up. He asked me about many aspects of Irish life and how the move was working out. One of the things he asked me about that I thought might be interesting to cover on the blog was about crime levels in Ireland.

Moving to Ireland wasn't a foregone conclusion for me and my family. We had a great life in the states, and weren't running away from anything bad. We actually went back and forth on our decision numerous times, until we finally decide to make the plunge and buy the plane tickets.
To help us decide whether to move back to Ireland or not, we must've written up a pros and cons list about ten times. The contents of the lists rarely changed, but going back over things numerous times helped us get to our final decision.

On the pro side we would certainly have had 'low crime rate' or 'safe place to raise kids', or something to that effect anyway, every time. My perception of Ireland (from living here and from afar) has always been that it is a very safe country. I can honestly say that I have personally never been victim of any kind of crime (touch wood!), and neither have any members of my immediate family. I feel safe walking the streets at night, most of them anyway, and there are few places I wouldn't go. Like any place in the world though, there are definitely places that you would want to avoid, and if you're moving here, you might want to do a little research before you settle on a place to live.

Crime statistics in Ireland
In my attempt to offer an honest opinion of how I perceived Ireland's crime levels to my fellow passenger, I pointed out that I don't have to listen to local radio for too long before I'll hear about some nasty incidents of crime. I've heard of vulnerable taxi drivers being beaten up for their night's takings, despicable attacks on elderly people in their homes, and other incidents that would make you shudder. But all-in-all I would say that these are isolated incidents, and overall my perception is, that Ireland is a safe place to live.

So now for some facts and stats...
The table below is a compilation of the Annual Garda Crime Statistics in Ireland from 2004-2012 (sortable by crime category). Thankfully, and as I expected, very serious crime is relatively low in most cities/counties, and in fact a large percentage of it is confined to a few areas. Use the drop down menu to change the crime category.

Prison Population in Ireland
Hand-in-hand with the topic of crime in Ireland goes the subject of prison population. The Irish Penal Reform Trust website has an article (at this link) with everything you'll ever need to know about that, including:
- The current prison population is 3,892 (11 Aug 2014)
- The rate of imprisonment in Ireland is approximately 88 per 100,000 of population (Aug 2014)
- Prisoners in Ireland are 25 times more likely to come from (and return to) a seriously deprived area.
- Over 70% of prisoners are unemployed on committal and a similar percentage self-report as not having any particular trade or occupation.

I hope this article isn't a bit of a 'downer', but if you're like me, you might prefer to be well informed on this topic when moving to a new country.