How end of lockdown affected crime levels in Suffolk and Essex

A man has been found dead in a house in Aldham near Colchester

Crime fell when compared to the same period of last year, but not as sharply as during the first lockdown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Overall crime levels began to creep back up as restrictions eased following the first national Covid-19 lockdown, latest figures have revealed.

Crime had fallen 16% across Suffolk and 17% across Essex in the three months after the country went into lockdown, compared to the equivalent period of 2019.

Over the subsequent three-month period, between July and September, overall crime fell 6% to 13,702 offences in Suffolk and 5% to 42,679 offences in Essex, when compared to same quarter of 2019.

Suffolk Constabulary recorded a sustained fall in certain types of crime, including a 36% fall in burglary, compared to 25% for the previous quarter, and a 48% fall in robbery, compared to 47% in the previous quarter.

In Essex, the fall in burglary was 26%, compared to 39% in lockdown, and 15% for robbery, compared to 29% in lockdown.

Meanwhile, in both counties, violent offences increased year-on-year, by 5% to 5,955 offences in Suffolk and 11% to 18,515 in Essex. 

Nationally, the overall crime rate fell by 5% compared to the equivalent period of 2019 and 20% during the first lockdown.

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The Office for National Statistics said lockdown restrictions had resulted in fluctuations in crime levels.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said the figures need to be seen in the context of the current pandemic and that the fall is driven by the changes in society, after restrictions were put in place.

She said: “It’s important to say we haven’t been resting on our laurels and where demand has fallen, we have taken the opportunity to arrest as many outstanding offenders as we could.

"We’ve also been busy proactively engaging with our communities, as well as exploiting intelligence and proactivity with regards to enforcement using our Sentinel and Scorpion teams to tackle drug dealing and related criminality.

“We continue to monitor and analyse where, when and what type of crime occurs so we can ensure our response is dynamic and effective and, as is always the case, we implement local proactive operations to address criminality in geographical locations when they emerge.

"We continue to do everything we can to protect the communities we serve in particular those who are the most vulnerable in our society."

An Essex Police spokesman said figures showed a continued fall in overall crime, and that the county remained a safe place, with fewer victims of robbery, burglary and violence than on average, adding: "Your property is safer than ever, with more than 2,700 fewer burglaries, 1,200 fewer vehicles stolen, 1,300 fewer vehicles broken into, and nearly 500 fewer robberies here. And these offences were falling even before Covid-19.

"Throughout the pandemic our officers have continued to be out across the county, protecting and serving Essex.

"They continue to carry out positive, proactive work to take drugs and weapons off our streets, carrying out warrants and dismantling entire county lines gangs.

"This is highlighted by the increase in the number of drugs offences we’ve recorded."