West Country police record sharp downturn in crime during COVID-19 lockdown

Police forces are recording a sharp downturn in crime rates in the COVID-19 lockdown.

Devon and Cornwall says crimes including shoplifting and burglaries from homes have halved in the last few weeks while Avon and Somerset says overall crime has reduced by 38 per cent.

While a degree of caution is needed analysing the figures - the figures are based on just a two-week period from March 16th, comparing 2020 with 2019 - they offer a stark guide as to the changing face of crime in lockdown Britain.

Avon and Somerset recorded a 38 per cent decrease in overall crime.

There was also a decrease in many specific types of crime:

Devon and Cornwall is seeing a similar cut - including reduced rates for shoplifting (50%), dwelling burglary (50%) and a 28% cut in violence.

PC Williams says he is using the time to strengthen bonds between the police and the community, riding his bike in the city to provide a visible, reassuring presence.

Credit: PC Williams

Police say the constant rate of Domestic Violence may be a result of poor reporting as many victims may be unable to call for help as they are with their abusers during lockdown.

Chief Insp Tony Blatchford, Avon & Somerset Police Credit: ITV West Country

Chief Inspector Blatchford adds: “What we do appreciate is, particularly in cases of domestic violence in the home, we’ve got the victim and the perpetrator living together. The victim may not feel safe to come forwards. What we would say to those people is that we’re working with victim support agencies and we’re still here for you. If you’re unable to make a call, then there are other ways to report this. Perhaps text a friend or use the online reporting system.”