Crime drops but reports of anti-social behaviour increase during pandemic

Crime is down but reports of anti-social behaviour have increased during the coronavirus outbreak.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 9:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 9:28 pm
Crime has dropped but reports of anti-social behaviour have increased during the coronavirus outbreak.

Chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, Martin Hewitt, has given an update on crime levels during the pandemic, with an overall drop in England and Wales in the four weeks to April 12 of 28 per cent compared to the same period last year.

There has been a 37 per cent reduction in police recorded burglary, a 27 per cent drop in vehicle crime, serious assault, and personal robbery; and recorded rape offences have fallen 37 per cent.

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But reports of anti-social behaviour have risen by 59 per cent, attributed to breaches of the lockdown rules.

Fears have been raised of an increase in domestic violence amid enforced isolation at home, and police have seen an increase of three per cent in recorded offences year on year.

Mr Hewitt said: “We do normally see a rise at this time of year but we would say that such an uptick is likely to be linked to some of the reporting and the subsequent recording of social distancing breaches.”

Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen, who is the NPCC lead for out-of-court disposals, said that there had been 178,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the past four weeks, compared to 112,000 in the same period last year.

The number of 999 calls made to police forces has dropped by 14 per cent.

National Crime Agency director general Lynn Owens said some drug dealers are trying to disguise themselves as key workers to adapt to the coronavirus lockdown.

Prices are rising with fewer drugs entering into the UK as Covid-19 restriction of movement rules make it harder for criminals to operate, she said.

“They are having to find new ways of working and new networks,” Ms Owens said.

“Drug dealers moving illicit drugs are concerned about greater scrutiny as they recognise that with less people on the streets, they are more visible.

“Of course, they will be looking at different opportunities, wearing high vis clothing so they start to look like key workers, deploying or dealing from supermarket car parks where there may be more people around.”