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Crime and Covid: Here’s how the pandemic has changed offending in the north-east

New figures show there's been a rise in recorded crimes in the north-east.
New figures show there's been a rise in recorded crimes in the north-east.

New statistics have been released that show how there has been a rise in crime since lockdown restrictions eased earlier this year.

From April to June 2021 the number of recorded crimes across seven different categories has increased when compared with the same period last year.

The figures, from Police Scotland’s latest quarterly management report, show that in the first quarter of the year there were 12,159 crimes in the North East division.

This compared to 9,725 for the same time last year.

However, of the crimes recorded from April to June 8,854 were detected – a better result than in 2020/21, when the figure was 7,792.

The figures in the performance report will be presented at the Scottish Police Authority Policing Performance Committee on Wednesday.

Here are the headline figures from today’s report:

Rise in crimes of violence

One murder and one culpable homicide was recorded during the period compared to none for the previous year. However attempted murders fell from 11 to 6.

There were 63 serious assaults recorded compared to 37 the same time the previous year. While robbery and assault with intent to rob went from 36 to 52.

Domestic abuse has seen a rise during the pandemic and there were 96 offences recorded under the domestic abuse 2018 act from April to June, while the previous year there were 67.

However there were 1,274 domestic abuse incidents recorded, 49% of which resulted in a crime report. This was a decrease on the previous year where 1,366 incidents were recorded with 45.8% resulting in a crime report.

Common assaults have also risen sharply, going from 848 to 1,183.

But assaults of emergency workers fell a fraction, from 179 to 178.

Domestic abuse has increased during the pandemic.

Sex crimes rise

Sexual crimes increased from 236 to 381. Among the types of crimes seeing a rise was rape, with 49 recorded compared to 35 previously. Offences recorded under the Sexual Offences Act 2009 went from 46 to 94.

Housebreaking up but fall in shoplifting

All types of housebreaking, including attempts, rose from 163 to 179.

Fraud increased from 275 to 499.

However, shoplifting decreased from 643 to 590.

Motor vehicle crime, which includes theft and attempted thefts, went from 164 to 184.

A decision on removal of Spaces For People physical distancing in Union Street and around Belmont Street will now be taken in November.
Shoplifting has decreased, pictured is Aberdeen’s Union Street at the centre of the city’s main shopping district.

Drug supply increased but possession down

All types of drugs supply increased going from 130 to 169.

Meanwhile, possession offences decreased, going from 824 to 780.

Less people carrying offensive weapons

Fifteen instances of carrying an offensive weapon were recorded compared to 32 for the same period last year.

And total offences involving offensive/bladed weapons went from 643 to 590.

Vandalism soared

Fireraising offences recorded went from 39 to 85, while vandalism/malicious mischief soared from 685 to 955.

Less drink driving but many more speeders

Dangerous driving offences recorded were 137 compared to 103 the previous year. However, drug and drink driving offences fell from 261 to 232.

But speeding offences increased significantly – from 447 to 1,109.

Drink and drug driving offences recorded have fallen.

What are the police saying?

Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent George Macdonald said: “Last year was unprecedented for us all and the figures from the latest report show that the pandemic continues to influence the policing needs of our communities.

“During the first quarter of 2021-22 we have seen an increase in the number of offences recorded in relation to the supply of drugs as we continue to focus our efforts to try and reduce the harm that controlled drugs create in our communities across the North East.

“We continue to see an increase in reported domestic abuse, sexual crimes and wider vulnerability, however we know these incidents remain under-reported and I want to encourage people to come forward.

“We acknowledge that the home is not always a safe place for everyone and we continue to work alongside our colleagues in national specialist units and our partners to detect cases of domestic abuse, violence, sexual crimes and provide support to victims and their families.

Divisional Commander George Macdonald.

What can we expect in the future?

Chief Supt Macdonald said: “As restrictions continue to ease, it is to be expected that reported crimes will continue to rise as we enjoy more freedoms in comparison to last year.

“I want to urge motorists to be safe on the roads and to play their part in making the roads a safer place for all users, particularly as we see increasing levels of vehicles following the easing of lockdown travel restrictions.

“The officers and staff working across the North East are as committed as ever to keeping our communities safe and to delivering a more effective public service and I want to thank them for their continued efforts.”

Crime and Covid: What the pandemic has done to crime rates in the Highlands and Islands

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