Issue Date: 29 November 2022
- 91% of respondents trust An Garda Síochána
- Less than 20% of people perceive local crime as ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’
- 78% satisfied with Garda service to local community
- 80% agreed that An Garda Síochána is focused on human rights
- Majority of people view An Garda Síochána as effective in tackling crime, community-focused, modern and progressive, and well-managed
- Victimisation rate of 6.5% is relatively in line with 2017 and 2018
- The proportion of respondents aware of local Garda patrols has continued to increase.
The public’s perception of the seriousness of crime at a local level has decreased again this year, according to the 2021 Garda Public Attitudes Survey.
The survey has also found that trust in and satisfaction with An Garda Síochána remained high.
The survey of 7,656 people, aged 18 years and over, in the second half of 2021 (July-December) found that 19% of people believed local crime was a "serious” or "very serious” problem. This is a decrease from 2017 when the figure was 20%, however, it was similarly reflected in both 2018 and 2019.
In addition, 48% of people said they did not worry about becoming a victim of crime. This is a decrease from 2018 (49%) and 2019 (55%). The victimisation rate for 2021 is 6.5%, up from 4.4% in 2019.
Trust in An Garda Síochána remains the same as in 2019, which was an increase from 89% in 2018. Satisfaction with An Garda Síochána remains at a high level with 78% of respondents satisfied with Garda services provided to local communities.
There was an increase in those who were ‘very satisfied’ with An Garda Síochána in 2021 (19%), from 11% in 2019, and 10% the two previous years. The highest level of satisfaction was among 18-24 year olds (83%).
In general, 91% of those surveyed believe that they would be treated with respect if they had any contact with An Garda Síochána, and 77% said Gardaí would treat you fairly regardless of who you are.
Also, 77% agreed that Gardaí can be relied to be there when they are needed, a slight increase on 2019 (76%). The vast majority of respondents said that Gardaí listen to concerns of local people (80%).
90% of all respondents were of the opinion that sexual offences should be the top policing priority for An Garda Síochána. This was the case regardless of gender, social class or nationality. Domestic abuse, hate crime and road safety were new priority areas in the 2021 survey, with domestic abuse rated as a high priority by 87% of respondents, second only to sexual offences.
Human trafficking, illegal weapons and assaults featured highly across all demographics in terms of priorities for An Garda Síochána.
In 2021, 80% agreed that An Garda Síochána is focused on human rights, the first time this was included in the survey.
There continued to be an increase in the number of people who said that An Garda Síochána is community focused (77%), effective in tackling crime (72%), well managed (69%), and modern and progressive (75%).
In particular, there was a 10% increase from 2019 in the view of respondents that the organisation was well managed.
Welcoming the results published today, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said, "These survey results and the consistently high level of public trust in An Garda Síochána are a strong reflection of the hard work and dedication of Garda personnel nationwide.
"The COVID-19 pandemic was an incredibly trying time for society and Gardaí worked tirelessly to keep people safe. They provided vital support to some of the most vulnerable during this time. I do not doubt that the impact of this work can be seen in the many positive results.
"Our prime focus continues to be on protecting the victims of crime and building on our strong, trusted relationship with the communities that we serve.
"The survey does show though that we need to improve how we engage with victims of crime. Based on these results, we are putting in place a series of measures to make sure that victims are kept fully informed on how their case is progressing.”
Other key findings of An Garda Síochána Public Attitudes Survey for 2021
Victims of Crime
The victimisation rate for 2021 is 6.5%, an increase on 4.4% in the 2019 survey. This is in line with 2017 and 2018 when it stood at 6%. Of the 7,656 respondents to the 2021 survey, 499 were victims of crime. 59% of respondents were satisfied with how Gardaí handled their case - a slight decrease from 2019 (61%).
There was an 81% reporting rate to Gardaí which is a slight increase on 80% in 2019. Just over half (51%) felt that the information received from Gardaí during their incident was satisfactory, a decrease of 3% from 2019. Most victims of crime stated that the Gardaí responded quickly, that they were given the name of the investigating Garda and contact details for the Garda Station (all 63% or higher).
Fear and Worry about Crime
48% of all respondents do not worry about becoming a victim of crime. This is a decrease from the 2019 survey where 55% of respondents did not worry about being the victim of crime. 21% of people surveyed worried about being a victim of personal injury, property theft or damage and cybercrime.
6% of those surveyed have a lot of fears about the level of crime nationally which is an increase on both 2018 and 2019 (3%). 66% of persons surveyed have no fears or very few fears about crime levels in Ireland. This is a decrease of 6% from 2019.
49% of all surveyed were aware of Garda patrols in their local area in 2021. This has continued the trend which has seen a yearly increase from 2017 where 36% of individuals that were surveyed stated that they were aware of a patrol and 39% in 2019 for the same question.
The proportion of respondents unaware of Garda patrols continues to decrease with only 43% unaware of any patrol in their area. This figure has decreased consistently from 2017 where 55% were unaware.
The number of respondents who felt that Garda presence was not enough in their local area currently stands at 53%. This is a significant decrease from the 2018 figure of 61%.
78% of respondents are very satisfied or satisfied with the service from Gardaí. While this is a slight decrease of 2% from 2019 (80%), there was a notable increase in respondents who are very satisfied with the Garda service to their local communities, 19%, up from 11% in 2019.
Trust in An Garda Síochána
Trust in An Garda Síochána remains at the same level as 2019 (91%), an increase of two percentage points from 2017 and 2018. 50% of those surveyed have a high level of trust in the organisation. This is an increase of 4% from 2019 where 46% of respondents had a high level of trust. The number of individuals who have a low level of trust in An Garda Síochána remains the same as 2019 (9%).
Treatment by An Garda Síochána
91% of respondents were of the belief that An Garda Síochána would treat you fairly if you had contact with them for any reason, while 77% believed they would be treated with respect.
More than three quarters of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the Gardaí in their area can be relied on to be there when they are needed. 77% of respondents in 2021 were of this belief, an increase from 76% in 2019.
67% of those surveyed disagreed with the statement that ‘community relations with the Gardaí are poor’. This is a slight decrease from 2019 where 70% of respondents disagreed that community relations were poor.
80% agreed that Gardaí listen to the concerns of local people, a slight decrease from 86% in 2019. 77% of those surveyed either agreed or strongly agreed that Gardaí address things that matter to the local community.
Perceptions of An Garda Síochána
80% agreed that An Garda Síochána is focused on human rights, the first time this area was surveyed.
There has been an increase in the number of people who feel that An Garda Síochána is community focused (77%), effective in tackling crime (72%), well managed (69%), modern and progressive (75%).
There has been a significant increase in those who feel Gardaí are effective in tackling crime. Each of these figures has been progressing steadily in the past three years. In 2018 and 2019, 64% and 68% respectively of respondents felt that the organisation was effective in tackling crime.
2021 has seen a significant increase in the view of respondents of how well managed An Garda Síochána is. The figure of 69% is a 10% increase on 2019.
In general, views of An Garda Síochána’s effectiveness and capability have been trending upwards since 2017.
The results of the 2021 Garda Public Attitudes Survey are available here.
All previous publications are available on www.garda.ie.