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Burglaries plummet due to impact of lockdown

By Richard Guttridge | Crime | Published:

Burglaries have plummeted across the region during 2020, with the coronavirus lockdown limiting opportunities for thieves to strike.

Burglaries have fallen over the last year

The number of break-ins fell by almost half in some areas in the year to June. The lockdown resulted in a dramatic drop in crime across the region but police chiefs have warned crime levels are now beginning to return towards normal.

New figures showed there were 156 burglaries in Wolverhampton in June 2019 compared with 122 in June 2020.

In Dudley, total burglaries fell from 120 to 69, while in Sandwell it came down from 126 to 90.

Break-ins were also significantly down in Walsall, falling from 155 to 111 over the 12-month period. In Shropshire, burglaries fell from 227 to 175.

The figures were provided by parliamentary constituency area, though some were not available including Warley, in Sandwell, and Halesowen and Rowley Regis, which crosses the Dudley and Sandwell border. Nonetheless, the figures present a picture of falling crime rates across the region this year, which police have confirmed to have been the case.

Unsurprisingly, the dip experienced in the West Midlands was replicated across the country as lockdown meant most people were confined to their homes, while there were less reasons for criminals to be out on the streets as committing crimes became much riskier.

The figures show that from July 2018 to June 2019 there were more than 414,400 reported incidents, but from July 2019 to June 2020 this dropped to 320,120 burglaries - a 22.75 per cent fall.

However, it does show that hundreds of burglaries still took place despite the restrictions.

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Jay Singh-Sohal, West Midlands Conservative candidate for next year's Police and Crime Commissioner elections, said: "West Midlands Police have said it has been a normal summer in terms of crime (following the lockdown period) and that puts a lot of pressure on police officers. "A lot more people are working from home and have that security of being at home but if people are intent on burgling or thieving they will find opportunities."

He added: "What I'm worried about is these offenders moving into other areas. If someone is that way inclined they will find other ways of feeding themselves through crime, including serious crime."

Greg Wilson, founder of insurance comparison provider Quotezone.co.uk, which carried out the research, said: “It won’t come as a surprise to learn that 2020 has seen a significant fall in the number of burglaries, with the lockdown and work-from-home orders serving as a significant deterrent that has helped to reduce the total number of break-ins by almost 10,000 year-on-year.

“However, the fact that almost 20,000 burglaries still occurred each month during lockdown, even when the Government’s most stringent quarantine measures were in place, highlights that break-ins remain a very real risk for homeowners and tenants alike.

“Some policyholders might be a little more inclined to forgo home insurance now that they’re home most of the time, but this data makes it clear that the risks a good home insurance policy will protect you against haven’t gone away.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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