‘Crime Boy I Dunno’ Comparing stats between St Patrick’s Day and 12th July

Brendan Hughes from the Irish News has an interesting story in today’s Irish News about the level of crime reported during St Patrick’s Day and the 12th July from the 2009-2015 period where he finds little difference between the two events.

In his examination he reports;

We also studied figures for the 36-hour period surrounding each date – from 6pm on March 16 and July 11, to 6am on March 18 and July 13.

The Twelfth comes out on top when looking at the single day only, with an average of 405 offences compared to 379 on St Patrick’s Day.

The average number of crimes reported on other days of the year, based on police figures from 2008/09 to 2014/15, was 288.

However, when looking at the 36-hour period the St Patrick’s holiday had more crimes.

It had 590 on average, compared to 578 during the Twelfth period and a 36-hour average across the year of 432.

The most common crimes reported across the 36-hour period of both holidays were assault with injury and criminal damage.

Since 2009 there have been 881 and 849 assaults with injury reported on St Patrick’s and the Twelfth respectively, and 981 and 881 reports of criminal damage.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

  • Simian Droog

    Seriously idiotic. It has zero context. The one St Patrick’s day I was in Belfast I saw a single loyalist walking around the City center, carrying a 6 pack of tennants whilst screaming abuse and punching youths in green. Is that evidence of “Nationalist” violence on St Pats?

  • citizen69

    I would suspect that any major celebration around the world that involved alcohol & hundreds of thousands of people would bring with it a spike in criminality. But yeah, i get the idea that some people would like to imply that St. Pats is a lot more safe, family orientated & idiot-free than the Twelfth.

  • Reader

    There is nationalist violence on St Patrick’s day and on the Twelfth.
    There is loyalist violence on St Patrick’s day and on the Twelfth.
    There is drunken violence on St Patrick’s day and on the Twelfth.
    The article doesn’t need all that much context, as it sets out to counter the meme that the Twelfth is a uniquely dreadful public order issue. And it skewers that meme very well – to your obvious annoyance.

  • Simian Droog

    It’s a horrendous public order issue because it is the celebration of hate of the “other”. St. Patrick’s day, as much as your paranoid mind would like to see it, is not. As for your opening gambit, show the figures then, in my experience, nationalist want nothing to do with the 11th or 12th, in fact half the country buggers off to Donegal. OR more than half if you count all the protestants that also want nothing to do with it. A celebration by the hateful minority. It’s embarrassing.

  • Reader

    The article suggests that “Since 2009 there have been 881 and 849 assaults with injury reported on St Patrick’s and the Twelfth respectively, and 981 and 881 reports of criminal damage.”
    It’s difficult to ignore those crimes because they are “reported” – and the counts are closely comparable, so the police stats aren’t fudged as you suggested.
    But go on then – you suggested a couple of other crimes that you think might have their figures massaged – public urination and damage to property – how do they compare in your experience, and if you think there is a significant discrepancy, where is your evidence? (You’re accusing the PSNI of applying different standards to the two events – you need a bit of evidence).
    By the way – I have used election leaflets to light my wood stove. The DUP ones work better than the UUP ones. Sinn Fein didn’t leave any election leaflets this year. Under the circumstances, should I expect the PSNI to kick down my front door to investigate a “hate crime”?

  • Reader

    Neil: (obviously they had to widen the dates out to try and get a bit of sacred balance in)
    Actually, I suspect they were originally trying to widen the slight discrepancy by including bonfire night, but the result was much more interesting than that. Didn’t the effect of adding 6 hours at either end surprise you?

  • Brendan Heading

    These statistics are not telling the true story.

    Every stolen election poster represents several crimes : theft, criminal damage, and potentially a hate crime. The presence of paramilitary flags may well represent terrorism-related offences under the Terrorism Act 2006. Burning tricolours (whether they are Irish or from the Ivory Coast) or displaying hateful messages directed at politicians also amount to hate crimes. Burning tyres and other household rubbish is generally illegal. Destroying property, such as the houses that were burned down at the Shankill last night, is criminal damage. Blocking public roads, such as at Cluan Place or at the bottom of the Donegall Road at Broadway, is also a criminal offence.

    My guess is that most of these offences don’t get reported, and when they do, police do not log formal crime reports, but either ignore the issue or log it under the catch-all of policing the 12th.

    I don’t want to be disrespectful to people’s culture and traditions, and I’ve seen several examples of responsibly managed bonfires to which no reasonable person could object (the Clandeboye one stood out as a notable example; I also saw pictures of others in suburban East Belfast, kept well away from homes and maintained at a reasonable size without any hateful displays) but it’s hard not to arrive at the conclusion that the 11th night bonfires in some locations are a drink-fuelled orgy of hate, criminality and wreckless environmental irresponsibility, often under the shadow of paramilitary organisations, and which amount to a direct challenge to the rule of law. As a taxpayer and a ratepayer I don’t mind the state meeting the costs of social occasions and community events, or spending money to encourage responsible behaviour, but I resent having to pay for the cleanup and repair costs associated with people compensating for a form of collective small man syndrome.

  • murdockp

    houswives drivng cars at 45 mph in 40 mile an hour zones better watch out the police are after you.

    loyalists committing at least 20 crimes from environmental pollution through the to criminal damage and religpus hatred can expect a cheque.

    to say our society is fucked up is an understatement.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    How many people had to flee their homes or suffer extremely disturbed nights because of all-night drunken parties? How many parked cars were criminally damaged by revellers in the street during confrontations with the police? Can we have those stats too?

    As anecdotal stories have already been used here as ‘evidence’ I’ll add my own; parked my car in the University area in Belfast and went out to dinner on St Partrick’s evening two years ago, returned to find it damaged (as were a couple of other cars parked beside my own); in Portrush last weekend for a meal, as my friends and I walked to the restaurant an Orange March passed along Kerr Street, no signs of drunkenness or aggression on display, all the marchers were wearing lounge suits, shirts and ties, some even sported bowler hats (I had thought that head gear a thing of the past).

    A rather well turned out and musical band accompanied the marchers, even had a little boy playing the Triangle, in Private Baldrick in the opening credits of ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ stylee.

    Should I use my ‘evidence’ to conclude that St Paddie’s day is a more violent affair than an Orange parade?

  • hgreen

    Both communities have a drink problem. I’m guessing that the 12th costs a lot more in terms of policing, fire and ambulance services as well as clean up.

  • hgreen


  • Old Mortality

    Is environmental pollution actually a criminal offence?

  • Old Mortality

    To regard the burning of an electoral poster as a hate crime is simply preposterous.

  • Obelisk

    This thread is the definition of whataboutery.

  • murdockp


  • grumpy oul man

    Oh yea it is,

  • grumpy oul man

    What do you regard burning a picture in public to the cheers of the crowd?
    Of course its a hate crime!

  • chrisjones2

    How may cars were burned?

    How may casualties ended up in A&E and how many of those were due to drunkenness?

    Lets see those figures too

  • chrisjones2

    Why housewives? Are you suggesting that police should enforce speeding laws on a sexist basis?

  • chrisjones2

    If a policeman ignores a crime, does it exist?

    Yes and the Ombudsman says shes colluding in the crime

  • chrisjones2

    …and an environmental crime as all those print inks are potentially toxic.

  • murdockp

    err no, the members of society which pose the least threat to the police

  • Msiegnaro

    Dry up Chris, you’re coming across very bitter.

  • Msiegnaro

    What is your point Ciaran??

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Great to see some facts brought to light. I see the haters are not liking their side being just as bad as the other though.

  • MainlandUlsterman


  • MainlandUlsterman

    Excellent and very funny example of the facts pulling the rug from under a lot of feet. Great stuff.

  • DOUG

    Genuinely surprised you were able to get parked in the University area, what with all the streets blocked and the cordoning.
    Or were you there around breakfast time?
    Did the annual Holy Lands ” festival ” catch you by surprise?
    Or were you sick of the car and hoping to get a replacement on the insurance ( anecdotally, I know people who’ve done this and heard stories of landlords wrecking their houses for similar reasons. )

  • DOUG

    Were there any figures that could help determine amount per head?
    Anecdotally, people go away for the 12th fortnight. less so around St Patrick’s.
    Is there any way of knowing how Twelfth Tourism compares to the annual St Patricks?
    Are there more people committing less crime on the 12th in Belfast for example?