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@@@@SPAN ="articledate">20 November 2006 @@@@/SPAN>
@@@@SPAN ="articleline">Media ‘hypes and over-reports crime in Limerick’@@@@/SPAN>
@@@@SPAN ="author">By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent@@@@/SPAN>
@@@@SPAN ="articlesummary">A LEADING academic said yesterday that statistics prove Limerick’s crime profile is hyped and over-reported by the media. @@@@/SPAN>
Professor Stephen O’Brien said garda crime figures do not support the image of the city as having a disproportionate level of serious crime.
Prof O’Brien, head of the University of Limerick’s applied mathematics faculty, said he decided to research crime as it seemed to be a particular issue in Limerick.@@@@/SPAN>
@@@@SPAN ="article">@@@@/SPAN>@@@@SPAN ="article">“It made me wonder how bad the situation really is. So I went looking. After a little searching, one comes across the crime statistics for 2005. And the results are really surprising: how many murders in Limerick in 2005? From media presentations, one would guess ‘many’. In fact for that year the figure is precisely one. Yes, one.
“When I looked at the numbers I could not believe it. The figures for headline crime are also very interesting as they show a similar level of headline crime from for Cork and Limerick per 1,000 of population at around 28 crimes per 1,000. The corresponding figure for headline crime in Dublin was 120 per 1,000.”
In 2005, Cork city had two murders and Dublin had 27.
“This may be a particularly low murder figure for that year; Limerick does tend to have more murders than it should due to gangland/feuds. But nothing like what one would perceive from media hype. Three to four a year seems about normal.”
Headline crimes per 1,000 of population for major centres of population for 2004 and 2005 were as follows:
* Cork: 26.82 (2004); 27.81 (2005).
* Limerick: 25.57 (2004); 31.85 (2005).
* Dublin North Central: 119.72 (2005).
* Dublin South Central: 95.78 (2005).
Prof O’Brien said: “Similar trends apply for previous years. Limerick had slightly fewer headline crimes (per 1,000 population) than Cork in 2004 and slightly more in 2005. But inner city Dublin is three-to-four times as bad.”
He said the conclusions of his research are obvious.
“Dublin is by far the most dangerous place in the country. Headline crime figures in other urban areas are approximately the same; Dublin is seriously out of line. Limerick is more or less average.”
He said the media are responsible for the unfair projection of Limerick as a place with a crime problem which is out of kilter with other cities except Dublin.
He said some crimes which go unreported in Dublin would merit national headlines if they happened in Limerick.
“A man went into a rugby club in Dublin recently and stabbed five people, singling out men wearing blazers. That only emerged in the media some weeks later when it was briefly mentioned in a Sunday newspaper as part of a story. Imagine what would have happened in the media if a similar attack occurred on a Saturday night in a Limerick rugby club.”
He said the incident in which a five-year-old Southill boy was shot was also over-reported.
“It went on for days in the media. If that happened in Dublin it would not have got the same treatment. And in one radio chat show, a guest mention about a ‘boy being murdered’ in Limerick and not one person contradicted him. There was a gut reaction.”@@@@/SPAN> </TD></TR></T></T></TABLE>