St Patrick's Day or Twelfth of July: Which has more crime?

Seven years of police crime statistics have been examined
Seven years of police crime statistics have been examined Seven years of police crime statistics have been examined

BOTH July 12 and St Patrick's Day show similar spikes in crime, figures show.

The Irish News examined seven years of police crime statistics on both public holidays and compared these with the average daily number of crimes.

And they suggest that when comparing crime rates on St Patrick's Day and the Twelfth, there is not much difference between them.

Both attract an above average amount of crime, around a third more than the daily average.

Which holiday has more crime depends on the time period examined.

Using PSNI statistics released through Freedom of Information requests, we tallied crimes recorded in each year from 2009 to 2015.

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.

The two public holidays are often pitted against each other by nationalists and unionists.

Over the years both have seen violence and disorder, although for the majority in Northern Ireland both events pass off peacefully.

Earlier this year there were disturbances in the Holylands student area of south Belfast as hundreds gathered on St Patrick's Day.

A PSNI officer was injured when bottles were thrown at police, and 11 people were arrested in the area and the city centre over the holiday period.

Trouble also flared again during the Twelfth last year after a contentious Orange Order parade was blocked from marching past the Ardoyne area in north Belfast.