New figures show county crimes fell but violent offences rose
Thefts and house burglaries have dropped by almost a third but incidents of violents have increased in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, according to new annual crime figures.
The statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) cover the period of January to December 2020, when the counties were locked down due to coronavirus restrictions for most of the year.
The requirement for people to stay at open for long periods of 2020 is thought to be the major reason for an overall 5.3 per cent fall in reported criminal offences.
Decreases have been recorded in theft (29.4 per cent), residential burglary (30.9 per cent), robbery (20.2 per cent) and possession of weapons (11.1 per cent) during this period, compared to the 12 months before.
However, violence against the person has increased by 10.2 per cent percent, equating to an additional 3,068 offences.
This increase is attributable to a number of factors, say Leicestershire Police, including a change in the recording of violence against the person offences whereby all common assaults are now reviewed and often re-classified as actual bodily harm, which sits within violence with injury.
Assistant Chief Constable, Julia Debenham, of the county force, said: “We all know that life has been very different over the last year and there is no doubt that the pandemic has influenced significant changes in criminal behaviour.
“As we open up the night time economy and have more contact with each other, I want to reassure you that our policing plans are in place to continue to help keep people safe.
“Although some crimes have decreased we have seen an increase in violence against the person across the last 12 months.
“Much of this increase is associated with better recording.
“We continue working with partners to ensure that we are putting resources in the right places at the right time, that we work together to support victims and prevent violent crime.”
Violence with injury is shown in the statistics as increasing by 38 per cent.
However, this is due to improved recording practices and is not reflective on an increase in actual crime, say police.
Rupert Matthews, the newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, commented: “These latest crime figures are indicative of the pressures placed upon our police force here in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland but also represent the unique and unprecedented impact Covid and the global pandemic has had on society.
“The necessary restrictions upon our personal freedoms during lockdown, with businesses being closed and the curtailing of our personal and social lives has inevitably resulted in less recorded crime.
“Whilst this apparent downturn in criminality is welcome, it is not lost on me that crime levels will most likely soon rise.
“As the incoming PCC I will work tirelessly with the public to ensure our police force is more visible and more engaged with our communities than ever before. I want our Force to build upon the fantastic work our officers and staff already do.
“I will be holding the Chief Constable to account so that his actions drive down crime and anti-social behaviour, whilst increasing police visibility to increase trust and confidence in our force for everyone who lives, works and socialises in our area.”