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Covid cuts crime

10,000 fewer crimes in past 12 months

The amount of crime being committed in Devon and Cornwall plummeted as the coronavirus lockdown came into force, according to Devon and Cornwall's police and crime commissioner, reflecting on new annual figures up to June 2020. And the region is the safest region in the country, after North Yorkshire.

Nearly 10,000 fewer crimes were recorded in the two countries in the year to June than in the previous 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics. The period covered includes nearly three months (11 weeks) of restrictions on people’s movement and activity in order to control the spread of the disease.

There were 54 crimes per 1,000 people in Devon and Cornwall, down from 57 per 1,000 in the previous 12 months, meaning it was the second safest force area of 43 in England and Wales. There were particularly significant drops in theft from the person and theft (-29.6% and -22.9% respectively), vehicle offences (-24.0%), shoplifting (26.2%) and burglary (16.1%).

Alison Hernandez, police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “These are not ordinary times, and consequently these are not an ordinary set of figures. They only cover a few weeks of the lockdown period but we can see what a colossal effect that is has had on crime.

“I’m pleased that with all the doom and gloom around we can deliver some good news in that residents of Devon and Cornwall are safer in terms of a crime threat than they have been. Lockdown made life harder for criminals, and it also made it easier for police to identify criminal activity like county lines drug dealing.

“It’s also important to note that while it might have wrought havoc in many ways, coronavirus has not prevented a recruitment drive that has added 144 more police officers to overall force strength this financial year, that’s more additional police officers than we’ve had in at least a decade. These new recruits will make it easier to retain our place as one of the safest force areas in the country."

The force with the lowest crime rate for the period was North Yorkshire, with 53.3 crimes per 1,000 residents. Only six forces, Gloucestershire, Thames Valley, Norfolk, Sussex, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, saw an increase in crime for the period. Cleveland saw the highest recorded crime rate, with 118.0 crimes per 1,000 people.

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