Pandemic measures drive down crime figures

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

Friday, 14th May 2021, 2:40 pm
Pandemic measures drive crime figures down

Cleveland Police recorded 11,308 offences in the area in the 12 months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics – a decrease of eight per cent on the previous year.

But – at 120 crimes per 1,000 people - that was far higher than the national rate which stood at 81.

The figures show more sexual offences were recorded – 347 incidents – an increase of 13% compared to the previous year.

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At 3.7 sex crimes per 1,000 people, that was slightly higher than the national rate of 2.5.

Other crimes recorded in Hartlepool included:

*4,207 violent offences, up four per cent.

*3,053 theft offences, down 34%.

*1,628 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up two per cent.

*472 drug offences, up 47%.

*127 possession of weapons, up 14%.

*1,045 public order offences, up 18%.

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.”