Lockdown saw drugs crime rise by nearly a half while burglaries plummeted by 72%, ONS figures confirm

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Drugs crime rose by up to 44 per cent during lockdown, statistics have revealed, while the height of the coronavirus pandemic saw thefts and burglaries plummet.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have showed the impact of lockdown restrictions on crime, with fraud and computer-based crimes also rising as the country was made to stay at home and spent even more time online.

Domestic burglaries meanwhile fell by 72 per cent in the first two months of lockdown compared with the two months prior with fewer people leaving their homes meaning fewer opportunities for burglars.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Robberies also fell by nearly 50 per cent compared with the same period the year before, while overall crime saw a reduction of 25 per cent in April and 20 per cent in May.

Drug crime statisticsDrug crime statistics
Drug crime statistics

Despite the falls in victim-based crime, figures showed a significant increase in drugs offences which were 22 per cent higher in April compared with the same month last year, and 44 per cent higher in May again compared with May 2019.

Although there is no regional breakdown of the national figures to show how crime figures in Yorkshire were affected by the lockdown, local police chiefs have said how drugs criminals have found ways around the restrictions to continue offending.

Detective Superintendent Carl Galvin, from West Yorkshire Police, said that, since April, the force had investigated over 4,000 drugs offences and recovered over £1million of assets from criminals.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Other crime figures from the lockdown period showed that violent offences were two per cent lower in April and 10 per cent lower in May.

There are no specific figures for domestic violence, however, following charities and call centres reporting surges in calls from victims stuck at home with partners and family members during the lockdown.

Billy Gazard, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “There was a significant fall in crime at the height of the coronavirus pandemic across England and Wales.

“This was driven by reductions in theft offences, particularly domestic burglary and theft of personal property. As this period coincided with the majority of people spending long periods at home during lockdown, it is not unexpected.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said the “exception was police recording of drug offences, which increased through April and May”, adding: “This reflects proactive police activity as overall crime levels reduced.”

However, the Chair of the National Police Chiefs Council said crime levels were beginning to return to their 2019 levels as lockdown restirctions have been easing.

Martin Hewitt said: “One consequence of the restrictions was the reduction in crime. Sadly, we are now seeing crime getting closer to the levels we saw in 2019. Police forces are busy tackling and preventing crime and providing a policing service to their communities, while continuing to play their part in the national effort to limit the spread of coronavirus."