Pandemic measures drive down crime figures

The coronavirus pandemic caused big fall in the number of crimes recorded in Northumberland last year, according to official police records.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 2:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 12:46 am
Pandemic measures drive crime figures down

Northumbria Police recorded 22,802 offences in the area in the 12 months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics – a decrease of seven per cent on the previous year.

That is a rate of 70.7 crimes per 1,000 people - lower than the national rate which stood at 81.

The figures show however that there were more crime of violence recorded – 8,599 incidents – an increase of three per cent compared to the previous year.

That is a rate of 26.7 violent crimes per 1,000 people – still slightly lower than the national rate of 30.

Other crimes recorded in Northumberland included:

*747 sexual offences, down three per cent.

*5,404 theft offences, down 27%.

*3,388 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down six per cent.

*515 drug offences, up 38%.

*166 possession of weapons, down eight per cent.

*3,216 public order offences, no change.

Police recorded eight per cent fewer crimes nationally – around 5.6 million offences in the year to December.

The ONS said the fall in crime was mainly driven by a drop of 15% between April and June as the first lockdown restrictions were introduced.

While police-recorded crimes increased from July to September as restrictions were gradually eased, they fell again in the last three months of the year as lockdown measures were reimposed.

Sophie Sanders, of the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “The fluctuations in the level of crime throughout 2020 can be attributed to the introduction and subsequent easing of national lockdown restrictions throughout the year."

She added: “Most crime types have seen recorded offences fall year-on-year. The notable exceptions are drug offences, because of proactive police activity in crime hotspots during the first lockdown.”

Crest Advisory, a criminal justice consultancy, said it is not surprising that crime patterns were "hugely affected" by the unprecedented restrictions of the pandemic.

Danny Shaw, head of strategy and insight at the organisation, added: "The rise in drugs offences was principally due to greater police activity in tackling dealers and organised crime gangs, who were also easier to spot with fewer people out on the street.”