Did Covid Lockdowns Impact Crime Statistics UK?

Did covid lockdowns impact crime statistics in the UK during the lockdowns for Coronavirus? The UK had 3 major lockdowns during the Coronavirus pandemic, these were between March and June 2020, November 2020 and January to March 2021.

But did these lockdowns have any impact on UK Crime statistics?

Let’s have a look.

Did Covid Lockdowns Impact Crime Statistics UK?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at ONS Data which records crime in the UK every year.

This data is up to December 2021:

Clearly, we can see that during national lockdowns, average crime reported dropped by between 200,000 and 250,000 in these periods – a 13% – 16% decrease.

I must admit that i thought the impact would have been greater than this. Where I live, streets were deserted, and people simply stayed at home – much like where you live I suspect.

Possible Reasons

Of course, the following reasons I’m about to explain are opinion only, and nothing backs these theories up other than some common sense.

So, there’s clearly a drop in recorded crime in these periods. But why?

The most logical answer is that in these lockdown periods, people mostly stayed at home. Therefore, opportunist crimes were minimised, and just the fact that people were inactive and stayed at home lead to less crime.

So what happened was crime dropped because:

  • People were in their homes – less likely to be burgled.
  • People’s cars were at home – less likely to be broken into or stolen
  • Shops and leisure facilities were closed – less likely to have crimes commited in those locations.
  • People worked from home – less likely to experience crime to work, at work and on the way home from work.

In some areas, police would question any person that was found wondering around around the streets – making it a lot harder for criminals to operate undetected.

So when we ask the question, did covid lockdowns impact crime statistics in the UK, we can say a unaminous yes.

Or Can We…

When we are asking whether covid lockdowns impact crime statistics, we have to look closer at the question.

We are talking about recorded crime here.

Recorded, as in, a crime has been commited, and the crime has been reported to the police.

UK covid restrictions came with a temporary law that enabled police forces to fine individuals and businesses who were breaking covid restrictions.

So naturally, would the theft of a bag be reported to police whilst a person was on their way to a friends house – when they shouldn’t have been going to that house in the first place?

Or would the victim not report the crime to the police, in fear that they would be reprimanded and fined themselves for breaking covid restrictions?

So what am I saying here?

I’m asking if covid lockdowns didn’t actually impact Crime Statistics in the way we thought – maybe the number was average based on the years previous, but some people were simply not reporting them because they were doing something that broke covid restrictions.

Other Articles & Recommended Reading

Here are some other articles that may be some interest to you:

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I actually think there is a bit of both here. I think covid lockdowns did impact crime statistics because of the restrictions on freedom and movement, but at the same time, some crimes went unrecorded because of the fer of being fined when people wern’t strictly adhering to the guidelines.

It’s an interesting question and it’s a truth we’ll never know,

Questions & Comments

What’s your thoughts? Did covid lockdowns impact crime statistics in the UK, and if so, how did these lockdowns impact these statistics. Less crime, or less recorded crime?

If you have any questions or comments on the article above, please feel free to leave a comment in the section below.

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My name is Richard.

I'm 40 years old. And I have nearly 20 years experience in various safety and security industries.

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