Northern Ireland

Survey shows fear of crime in Northern Ireland is rising

Handcuffed man
Image caption The survey showed that people are more fearful of crime than at actual risk of being a victim

Drugs, alcohol and a lack of parental discipline are the three biggest causes of crime in Northern Ireland, according to a government commissioned survey.

The survey also shows that over 60% of people surveyed thought that crime has increased in the last two years, despite it actually dropping.

The research was carried out by the Northern Ireland Crime Survey for the Department of Justice.

More than 4,000 people were surveyed during the 2010 to 2011 financial year.

Of those asked, 71% felt drugs were the major cause of crime in Northern Ireland, while 66% thought it was alcohol and 62% believed it to be a lack of discipline from parents.

When asked which single factor was the main cause a lack of discipline from parents was a percentage point higher than drugs at 24%.

There was also a disparity in the number of people who thought they may be a victim of crime in the next year and the actual chance of it happening.

For example, 15% or those asked thought they may be burgled but the actual risk is 2%. Car crime was similar with 15% of those asked feeling they may be a victim but just 3% are likely to.

The respondents were also more positive about perceptions of crime in their area as opposed to across Northern Ireland or in England and Wales.

Justice Minister David Ford highlighted the difference between the fears of those surveyed and the actual chance of them being a victim of crime.

Mr Ford said: "Crime levels in Northern Ireland are on a downward trend and people are less likely to be victims of crime here than in England and Wales.

"The findings of the report do not come as any surprise. During the consultation process on the Community Safety Strategy, the common theme running through the public meetings was the contrast between the fear of being a victim of crime and the actual risk.

"Tackling crime, the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour is a key priority for the criminal justice system and progress is being made.

"Crime levels are down, as are incidents of anti-social behaviour and the establishment of the new Policing and Community Safety Partnerships in the next few months will bring together organisations at a local level to tackle crime and the fear of crime."