Shropshire Star comment: Will crime rise after lockdown?

There are some indications that a return to a semblance of normality after the long lockdown will involve an unwelcome return to normal patterns of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Police.
Police.

The Easter holiday period in Shrewsbury was marked by occurrences of vandalism, theft, and violent incidents leaving folk in the town wondering what may be in the pipeline when the anti-social elements really have a chance to let rip.

The fear has to be that it will be like releasing a cork from a bottle. For over a year the nation has endured various pent up frustrations which have ranged from an inability to have a proper holiday or go shopping for certain things to, it seems, a desire to smash the place up which has been suppressed.

While a relaxation should be a matter for joy and celebration, some of the scenes we have witnessed have been depressing. People have played fast and loose with the coronavirus restrictions to descend on local open spaces in sunny weather, and have then left them strewn with litter.

At one Shrewsbury shop staff were subject to threats and abuse, leading to it closing early for the first time ever.

In the next few days the county town will be opening up further, which means it will take a further important step to becoming the busy and bustling place that makes it attractive and supports the local economy.

That is a prospect to lift the spirits after the hardest of years, but to have it accompanied by an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour will take the edge off the joy that at last that elusive prospect of "normality" is coming closer.

Police are increasing patrols and say it is only a small group of youths involved. However, it doesn't take many to ruin things for everybody else.

At this stage it is difficult to tell whether what has happened over the last few days is an ominous sign for coming months or whether, having largely been spared such unpleasantness thanks to the lockdown, we have forgotten about the nasty things that go on and are having an unwanted reintroduction.

The nation is aching to get back to normal, but with crime we'll make an exception to that.

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