What do the latest crime rates tell us? Are crime rates higher? Which crimes are rising and which are falling?
It’s really a case of the good news and the bad news. The good news is that the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) show that crime rates are 12% lower for the latest 12 month period compared with the 12 months leading up to lockdown. Other data shows a different picture, with crime levels up from the preceding 12 months and Police Recorded Crime (PRC) showing a different picture to the CSEW.
The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) publication on crime statistics have been published. They tell us that burglary, robbery and vehicle offences have all risen compared with the previous 12 months. The report uses data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales together with Police Recorded Crime. ONS published figures from the year ending 2022. It shows comparisons with the year ending December 2021 as well as comparing it with 12 months pre COVID lockdowns. The latest report shows a fall in overall crime rates compared with the 12 months ending 2020.
The latest figures from the CSEW for those interviewed in the year ending December 2022 showed that compared with the pre-coronavirus pandemic year ending March 2020, total crime decreased by 12%.ONS
During the 12 months to December 2022, there were almost 400,000 vehicle offences, more than a quarter of a million burglaries and over 70,000 robberies in England and Wales, according to PRC. The CSEW reports a 19% increase in total theft and a 15% increase in robbery compared with the year ending December 2021. It does point out that this remains below pre pandemic levels.
Police recorded crime in England and Wales in the year ending December 2022 exceeded pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. The 6.6 million crimes recorded were 11% higher compared with the year ending March 2020 (6 million offences)
Digging into the data, the police force data reveals more information about local crime. Fifteen percent of the 271,519 burglaries in England and Wales occurred in Yorkshire or Lancashire. Over 7,500 of those were in Lancashire. Meanwhile 33,270 occurred in Yorkshire and The Humber and almost half of these were in West Yorkshire.
The report also found that people were most likely to become victims of fraud or vehicle theft.
Are crime rates higher than those recorded?
Unfortunately Devon and Cornwall Police had data supply issues which prevented their data being included in the the latest ONS publication on crime statistics. This means that the true crime figures are likely to be higher than those reported. Other sources have reported that the “goalposts have been moved” in crime reporting. Police are no longer recording shed and outbuilding burglaries under the main heading of domestic burglary.
The headlines compare the data for the year ending December 2022 with pre pandemic era ending March 2019. In addition, the data for the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which has contributed to this report, refers to crimes committed as early as January 2021. This means it includes periods of national lockdown. You may remember that schools closed in January and February of 2021 and most people were back to – or still – working from home during this “second wave” lockdown. It’s widely acknowledged that the pattern of crime during periods of lockdown were different to those of ‘normal times’.
Overall a mixed and patchy picture from this latest report.