West Midlands Police is bracing itself for a summer crimewave led by alcohol-fuelled young men who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis.
The region’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said the force is planning for a huge spark in crime in June and July, when pubs may have reopened if lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
He said he had serious concerns that thousands of young men across the region will find themselves jobless, prompting them to hit the booze heavily and get involved in crime.
It came after three serious stab attacks in just 30 hours including the death of young father Karl Gallagher in Smethwick on Sunday.
Most crime categories have fallen dramatically in the West Midlands this year, with violent crime down by 70 per cent and residential burglaries reduced by more than a third.
But Mr Jamieson said he did not expect the trend to last, and that police were already planning for an expected spike in violent crime once pubs reopen.
He said one of the consequences could be that there would be “a renewed enthusiasm” for people to visit pubs “and perhaps imbibe rather more than usual”.
He added: “I have concerns that we could have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of young people in the West Midlands – particularly young men – who around about June or July, find they have got no job to go back to.
“Or at least they are going to be unemployed for a considerable period of time.
“What we do know is that young men on the street with nothing to do, who are unemployed, equals very often crime of various sorts. We are very much minded of that. Over the next weeks and months we are going to be putting together a plan of how to tackle that.”