The latest data release on crime in England and Wales tells us how different areas of crime have fared over the past 12 months. Overall, the data shows that many areas of crime reduce during lockdown conditions. However it does demonstrate that crime rates rise as restrictions ease.
How do security measures affect crime rates?
The latest statistics are missing a huge set of data which is usually particularly useful for our customers. In previous years, ONS have reported on the security measures in place on households which haven’t been victims of burglary, compared with those which have. This year there is no report on security measures, leaving us a little in the dark. We’ll have to wait until the next report for up to date insights.
One set of data reports people becoming increasingly worried about crime during the last year. 95% of those interview said they were as worried or more worried about crime now than before the pandemic.
Are crime rates on the rise?
The past two years have shown us that some areas of crime have fluctuated under pandemic conditions. As previously reported, incidents of arson have reportedly increased during lockdowns, as has fraud.
There is some good news. Many areas of crime have seen a fall in the number of reported crimes. Violent crime in particular has seen a 27% decrease in the number of victims. This is likely due to lockdown restrictions reducing incidents in public spaces. Similarly as opportunity for theft in public space has been reduced, so these crimes have also fallen.
However, this comes with a caveat. The ONS report that levels of crime “began to rise from March 2021 onwards as national restrictions began to ease.”
Burglary is another area which demonstrates that crime rates rise as restrictions ease. After beginning to show a decrease, levels of burglary increased 10% in the quarter July 2021 – September 2021 compared to April 2021-July 2021. Metal theft is also shown to be on the rise.
It is also notable that when restrictions ease, crime levels return to “normal”. “police recorded crime data indicate theft offences … are starting to return to levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic.”ONS
ONS say the levels of crime between July and September 2021 have now returned to similar levels seen in July to September 2019.
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