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UN statistics from 1998-2000 show that Ireland has a low crime rate compared to the US and most of its European neighbours. Burglaries and in particular car thefts are quite common but very serious crimes have been relatively rare: the murder rate per capita is lower than any other EU state other than Greece and is only one-ninth of that in the USA. Similarly the rate of assaults is only one-third of the US rates. However more recent crime figures appear to indicate that the murder and assault rates are getting worse and visitors should not be complacent and should take precautions to avoid becoming the victim of crime.
As the largest city, Dublin unfortunately attracts much of the country’s crime. The city has a serious drugs problem, predominantly heroin, and some of the more deprived residential areas are best avoided at night.
Walking around the city centre is generally OK, but can be unpleasant after midnight as drunks spill out of the city’s many bars and clubs, especially around the Temple Bar area and Dame Street. Popular perception is that the southside is safer than the northside but statistics do not appear to back this up. Some bus services to the rougher suburbs suffer from loutish and drunken behaviour though visitors are unlikely to need to travel to these locations. In summary, after midnight you might want to consider taking a taxi if you are unsure about your route, but at other times you should not encounter problems.
If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a crime you should contact the Garda (Police) immediately. For emergency police, fire or ambulance services call 999 or 112 for free. You may also want to contact your embassy or consulate. There is also a government-funded agency to assist tourists who are affected by a crime on their visit. The details are:
Irish Tourist Assistance Service, Block 1, Garda Headquarters, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 478 5295; Fax: (01) 478 5187;
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 10.00am - 6.00pm, Sundays and public holidays 12.00 - 6.00pm
Website and email, click here.