The US State Department has issued an unprecedented alert to American tourists coming to Ireland, warning of rising levels of serious crime here, including an increase in murder and burglary, as well as a shortage of gardai.
In its official briefing to prospective American tourists, the department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (Osac) report for 2008 expresses concern that overall levels of crime in Ireland have risen significantly, with a 20 per cent rise in homicides.
The council’s report, released last week, also said that a substantial rise in organised crime in Ireland had resulted in fatalities among innocent bystanders. The body warned American tourists about ‘‘the misconception that there is little crime in Ireland’’.
It is the first full report by the group since the State Department established an Osac Country Council in Ireland in 2006. It said that ‘‘vehicle burglaries are not uncommon, with criminals targeting American tourists using rental cars at popular tourist destinations’’.
The Osac report noted that residential burglaries were common in Irish cities, with criminals focusing on the more affluent areas. The study also revealed that the American Citizen Services have had to replace more than 27,300 passports belonging to US travellers, which were suspected to have been stolen, or were lost.
The report describes the gardai as ‘‘well-trained’’ and ‘‘professional’’, but said the force suffered from a shortage of manpower.