Figures reveal huge drop in burglaries during Covid lockdown

Burglaries reported to the police force covering Shropshire plummeted during the autumn lockdown, new figures show.

West Mercia Police received 411 reports of burglaries in November 2020, compared to 565 in November 2019 – a drop of 27 per cent, according to the police crime reports database.

While burglaries represented 5.6 per cent of all reports in November 2019, they represented 6.8 per of offences reported to the force during the same month last year.

Reported crime as a whole fell by 40 per cent in West Mercia during the period.

In Mid-Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police received 101 reports of burglaries in November 2020, compared to 134 in November 2019 – a drop of 25 per cent. While burglaries represented 4.2 per cent of all reports made to police in November 2019, they represented 2.9 per cent of offences reported during the same month last year.

Reported crime as a whole increased by 10 per cent in the force area during the period.

Insurance company Aviva warned that although some burglars may have been put off in lockdown, nearly two-thirds of incidents happened while people were at homes.

Across England and Wales, there were at least 22,200 burglaries in November 2020 – 26 per cent fewer than the same time the previous year. No figures were available for Humberside, Staffordshire and Greater Manchester.

Kelly Whittington, property claims director at Aviva, said: “Overall the number of UK home theft claims we received in November 2020 was lower than November 2019.

Vigilant

"However, lockdown has not put a stop to all criminal activity unfortunately and we would still encourage people to remain vigilant, even when they are at home.

"Most burglaries are opportunistic, so if a door or window is left unlocked, someone can be in and out of a house in just a few seconds.

"And if we’re at home but on another floor or in another room, we may not even be aware of an intruder, until it’s too late.”

Alex Mayes, external affairs manager at Victim Support, said: “While there has been a fall in reported crime during the coronavirus pandemic, this does not mean that crime or the impact it has on people has gone away.

"Some crimes such as burglary and theft reduced during lockdown however, people contacting us for help as a result of other crimes such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, hate crime, fraud and anti-social behaviour has increased.

“We also know that many crimes go unreported during Covid restrictions as victims may not be in a position to safely report incidents to the police.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council is also urging the public to protect themselves online against rising reports of cyber-crime.

Martin Hewitt, NPCC chairman, said: “Crime remains lower than at the same point last year, however the demand on the police service is significant.

"The statistics confirm the correlation of lower crime levels during periods of national lockdown.

“We encourage the public to follow the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus.

"We know that during this pandemic, cyber-crime has increased, and we continue to urge everyone to take measures to protect themselves online as criminals seek to exploit opportunities whilst communities go online during this new national lockdown."

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