While burglary and theft rates fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are likely to rise again this year as the country goes back to something approaching normal, so the public need to be vigilant and ensure their homes and belongings are fully secured.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected every aspect of life in the past couple of years, none more so during the several periods of lockdown the country – and the people of Leicester in particular – endured.
But perhaps surprisingly, given the directive for people to stay in their homes, crime figures actually rose in the year ending September 2021, compared to the last pre-COVID year of 2019, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)
Estimates in the CSEW provide the best indicator of long-term trends in crime. It shows that there was a 14% increase in total crime over the period. However, like all statistics, it pays to drill down into them – this figure was driven by a 47% increase in fraud and computer misuse crime.
When those crimes are excluded from the figures, overall crime fell by 14%, which was mostly due to an 18% decrease in theft offences.
Overall, the police recorded 5.8 million crimes in England and Wales in the year ending September 2021; a 2% increase compared with the previous year. However, the number of offences fell by 1% to 4.9 million when fraud and computer misuse are excluded from the figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which produces the CSEW, noted that recorded crime fluctuated across the year to September 2021, depending on when lockdown restrictions were imposed or eased, which impact on the usual seasonal variations for some crime types.
Compared with the previous year, recorded crime between July and September 2021 was 6% higher than the same period in 2020, reflecting a similar rise seen in the previous quarter (April to June 2021). This increase was most likely a result of the national restrictions in place during these periods. Levels of crime between July and September 2021 returned to similar levels seen in July to September 2019.
However, the number of burglaries fell by 21% in the year to September 2021, compared to the previous year, according to Police Recorded Crime. That said, there were still more than 250,000 burglaries recorded during the 12-month period.
Meanwhile the number of incidents of theft fell by 18% and vehicles offences by 14%, compared to 2019 and 2020 figures respectively.
Looking more closely at theft, ‘theft from the person’ offences – muggings – fell by 53%, which is again unsurprising given the lockdowns. Similarly, there was a 26% decrease in vehicle-related offences and a 23% decrease in bicycle theft offences.
The figures also noted a rise in metal thefts – including catalytic converters on vehicles and copper and lead from roofs – in the year to March 2021, although some of this was attributed to better recording of the crime.
The ONS noted that national lockdown restrictions, with non-essential shops and the night-time economy being closed and people spending more time in their homes, was the main factor in the falls in these types of crimes.
However, police recorded crime data indicate offences such as theft of a motor vehicle and bicycle theft are starting to return to levels seen before the pandemic.
Crime set to rise
Indeed, with lockdowns now seemingly a thing of the past, judging by recent government policy, and as more people return to the office, rather than work at home and return to leisure activities and take more holidays again, it is likely that rates of burglary and theft are likely to rise again over the course of 2022 as there will be more opportunities for would-be criminals to take advantage of an empty home or vehicle.
This means that the public should be more vigilant about the threat of crime that perhaps they have been in the past couple of years when they were more likely to be at home – which puts off many would-be burglars, who, understandably, prefer an empty house.
If you haven’t reviewed your home security recently, then it is worth looking at in 2022, to ensure that all aspects of the home and property are as secure as possible. It is also worth doing as it could help to bring your insurance premium down – with the cost of living rising, anything to stop bills rising is worth investigating.
Home security tips
The first thing that should be checked is the locks on doors and windows. If they are old or worn out, then they can be easier to break if a burglar wants to force their way in.
It is also worth considering additional door security such as deadbolts, which are bolts fitted to the bottom or top of the door and go into the doorframe, making it much more difficult for someone to kick them in.
While many people are vigilant about home security, it can be easy to forget about outbuildings such as garages and sheds – ensure those locks are secure and not rusty, as that makes them easier to break.
Ask an expert
Reviewing the security of your home might not be something you are comfortable with. However, there are experts on hand who can help, including locksmiths such as Inta-lock Locksmiths in Leicester.
Locksmiths can come out to your home and check all around the house for signs of weakness in security – be it old locks or easy entry points, for example – as well as taking in what the local area is like.
From that, they can provide a full review of your security and recommend what, if anything, needs to be upgraded or purchased to make your home more secure.
If you live in Leicester or the surrounding area and want a security review in your home, then call Inta-lock Locksmiths. One of our friendly team will arrange for an experienced locksmith to come out to you and complete a full security review for you.
Likewise, if you have any security system you want installing, give the Inta-lock Locksmiths team a call or email us for a no obligation quote that is competitive with any other locksmith in the Leicester area.