West Midlands burglaries plummet during Covid lockdown

Burglaries in the West Midlands plummeted during the second coronavirus lockdown – the silver lining of the 'stay at home' message.

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West Midlands Police received 1,791 reports of burglaries in November last year, according to figures from the police crime reports database.

The figures were a drop of 13 per cent compared to the previous year, where 2,066 were recorded in November 2019.

Insurance company Aviva has warned that although some burglars may have been deterred, research has suggested that nearly two-thirds of burglaries happen while people are in their homes.

While burglaries represented 8.6 per cent of all reports made to police in the West Midlands in November 2019, they represented 5.9 per cent of offences reported during the same month last year.

Reported crime as a whole increase by 28 per cent during the second lockdown period.

Figured for the number of burglaries in the Staffordshire Police force area were unavailable due to problems in supplying the data.

Across England and Wales, there were 22,200 burglaries in November last year – 26 per cent fewer than the same time the previous year. Figures from Humberside and Greater Manchester forces are also excluded due to a data supply problem.

Vigilant

Kelly Whittington, property claims director at Aviva, said: “Overall the number of UK home theft claims we received in November 2020 was lower than November 2019. However, lockdown has not put a stop to all criminal activity unfortunately and we would still encourage people to remain vigilant, even when they are at home.

"Most burglaries are opportunistic, so if a door or window is left unlocked, someone can be in and out of a house in just a few seconds. And if we are at home but on another floor or in another room, we may not even be aware of an intruder, until it’s too late.”

Alex Mayes, external affairs manager at Victim Support, said: “While there has been a fall in reported crime during the coronavirus pandemic, this does not mean that crime or the impact it has on people has gone away.

"Some crimes such as burglary and theft reduced during lockdown however, people contacting us for help as a result of other crimes such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, hate crime, fraud and anti-social behaviour has increased.

“We also know that many crimes go unreported during Covid restrictions as victims may not be in a position to safely report incidents to the police.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council is also urging the public to protect themselves online against rising reports of cyber-crime. Martin Hewitt, NPCC chairman, said: “Crime remains lower than at the same point last year, however the demand on the police service is significant.

"The statistics confirm the correlation of lower crime levels during periods of national lockdown.

“We encourage the public to follow the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus.

"We know that during this pandemic, cyber-crime has increased, and we continue to urge everyone to take measures to protect themselves online as criminals seek to exploit opportunities whilst communities go online during this new national lockdown."

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