The Irish blogosphere was humming this week with reactions to the murder of two Polish men in Drimnagh, Dublin, in what appears to be a premeditated stabbing frenzy cheered on by a group of by-standers. Vigilante gangs and ‘chemical incarceration’ were among the suggestions about how to combat what has in the last number of years become an epidemic of casual and occasionally lethal violence on Irish streets, although the elves are a tad disappointed that no one has as yet mentioned the magical words ‘chain’ and ‘gang’.
Given the week that was in it, though, the elves took the time to go back and re-read Brian McGilloway’s thoughtful piece on how crime writers react to the reality of crime when it impacts on their own environment. A little later, browsing Peter Rozovsky’s indispensable Detectives Beyond Borders, they stumbled across this post:
Crime in Ireland and elsewhereMaybe next week we’ll all gain a little perspective, although Crime Always Pays sincerely hopes we don’t. Meanwhile, our sympathies go out to the Szwajkos and Kalite families, and to Ireland’s Polish community.
A few weeks ago, my newspaper published the following small item under the headline “Murders reach record in Ireland”:
DUBLIN – Homicides in Ireland rose to a record last year, increasing 25 percent and prompting calls for tougher sentences for murder and gang crime. Murders and manslaughters rose to 84 from 67 in 2006, while drug offences rose 22 percent to 4,423, according to the Cork-based Central Statistics Office.
“While the rise in headline crime has to be seen against the background of the unprecedented rise which is taking place in our population, the fact is that each crime is a crime too many,” Justice Minister Brian Lenihan said. Ireland’s population has risen almost 17 percent in the last decade, to 4.2 million.
“The cheapening of human life evident in the crime figures demands an urgent response,” said Charlie Flanagan, justice spokesman for the opposition Fine Gael party. – AP
Philadelphia [population 1,500,000], on the other hand, has averaged about 400 killings a year the past two years. - Peter Rozovsky