Coronavirus: How Lockdown is Changing Crime Rates

Police in London

Life under lockdown is not only changing how people live, but also how and what crime occurs. While there have been significant drops in certain crimes – by as much as 28% – there are worrying signs that offences like domestic violence and online fraud are surging, too.

Crime levels dropping in the UK

The drop in overall crime has been driven by the closure of bars and clubs, large public events cancelled and homeowners remaining in their property. With non-essential stores closed, shoplifting fell by 54% and with stay-at-home orders, reported rape offences fell by 37%.

With people remaining indoors, households are better guarded. Cars are safer at home, particularly in garages or driveways. Domestic burglars and car thieves are more conspicuous and are more readily spotted. As a result, domestic burglary and car crime has dropped significantly.

Serious offences on the rise

Despite us being locked down at home, there have been higher cases of certain crime. Recent crime figures show that there has been an uptick in crime such as domestic violence and online fraud, with many fraud cases being the result of digital scams.

The bad news about staying at home means that there is more of a chance for domestic and family violence to occur, with The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) reporting there was a 3% increase in reports. Alcohol is a common trigger for such violence, and despite the pubs being closed, supermarket and online sales of alcohol have been booming since lockdown began as people self-medicate and drink online with friends. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for partners and children.

Online, many people have fallen victim to phishing texts, calls and emails claiming to offer HMRC payments, free school meals, or demanding a fake lockdown fine. Other incidents have included fake sites or online sellers claiming to sell protective face masks and hand sanitiser, costing the victims thousands in expenses when the items do not exist.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t just end with lockdown easing. Police are braced for a crime wave when lockdown ends. It is predicted by leading criminologists that gang rivalries and vendettas that have been building up during lockdown, which will likely erupt onto the streets following the easing of restrictions.

Since Boris Johnson announced an easing of measures, there has been an increase in the number of violent attacks. There have already been warnings of rival gang groups recruiting low-performing children while they are out of school as well as exploiting a rising number of unemployed youngsters. Police forces continue to discuss how to confront the issue as lockdown lifts.

Individuals and businesses continue to deal with threats on a daily basis, from cyber security risks to missing persons to commercial theft and more. Fortunately, experts say that private investigators can undertake operations, especially surveillance, while maintaining social distancing.

If you have a pressing issue at hand, there are many options for you to harness results during this trying time. Private investigators conduct covert surveillance, remote surveillance, undercover surveillance, CPS tracking for vehicles and missing persons detection, among many other services that give you results and peace of mind.

About the Author

Written by Chris Dando, founder of M19 Solutions – a team of professional private investigators in the UK.

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