New figures show coronavirus has made London safer?

New figures from Uk Crime Stats website has shown a substantial drop off in crimes committed as recently as February.

 

So have crime rates dropped since coronavirus?

 

Following the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic, the police have been tasked with enforcing lockdown laws and recently have been forbidden from responding to petty crimes which may leave some vulnerable.

 

Many may wonder how this pandemic will affect crime rates as before the pandemic, an average of 52 crimes were carried out per day in London with around 40 stabbings occurring on average.

 

In January 2020, a total of 91,153 crimes were committed. This was when coronavirus had just begun to emerge on this side of the world. By the end of February 2020, the crime rates had dropped to 87,024 which is the lowest drop off since Christmas which saw the crimes committed sitting at just 86,299.

 

With a drop off of crime by 10,129, this raises the question, why are less crimes being committed?

 

It makes sense for the lockdown to mean that the more people stay at home the less likely crimes are going to committed. The numbers are showing this but total crime figures do not always show how serious the crimes recorded are as they can range from petty theft to homicide.

For example; Shoplifting crime figures increased slightly from January to February alongside theft from the person which substantially increased by the hundreds. However, most organised crimes are usually drugs, murder and robberies and they have all seen a slight drop off. If the lockdown gets stricter and goes on for longer than the initial three weeks which was slated by Boris Johnson, we could see an increase in certain crimes such as shoplifting and even drug offences as dealers will be trying to keep their lines running. The National Crime Agency even warned about this.

Ex-police officer speaks on the crime vs corona correlation

Speaking to an ex-police officer who wished to remain anonymous, he stated “these are uncertain times and uncertainty breeds fear among people and when people are scared they may act out of the ordinary so while there may be a reduction in crime now, figures may drastically increase deeper into the lockdown which is why I believe it makes sense to introduce the army into the equation at some point”.

He was then asked, “since the army aren’t usually involved in civilian affairs, wont it increase the fear among the populace?”, to which he responded “they are two different types of fear. One is fear of uncertainty and between enforcing the lockdown and stopping and responding to crimes, the understaffed police force frankly won’t be able to handle it, on the other hand, the fear the army brings is one of respect and I’m sure once the army is out and about, people will fully respect this lockdown”.

 

“So, all in all, crimes have reduced for now and the stats for the crimes committed in March will be out soon. It may see an increase in shoplifting and domestic violence as people who could escape their homes to the safety of school or work are now being forced to stay in such environments, it will be interesting to see where it goes”.

 

 

Number of crimes committed in February 2020

meta-chart

 

 

 

Above is a pie chart showing the figures and as you can see the largest crime figures come from violence and antisocial behaviour, with theft and burglary not too far behind. Based on figures from March 2020 we will be able to tell if Coronavirus has really had an impact on the reduction in crimes in London across the board.

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