Will crime rise with Coronavirus restrictions reducing?

From 19th July 2021, England eased it’s COVID restrictions, after a delay to the 4th and final step on its Coronavirus roadmap to recovery. After months of various social distancing, mask wearing and other safety guidelines, many rules have been cautiously relaxed to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.

Crime increases expected as lockdown lifts.

This news is a big relief for many industries hard hit by the impact of the pandemic, such as hospitality, events, retail, and tourism, who can now look forward to business as “nearly” usual for the first time in since March 2020. However, with this easing of restrictions, and the reopening of hospitality and events, many police forces and security professionals are warning of increases in many kinds of crime, rising towards pre-pandemic levels.

The Head of Scotland Yard, DCS Lee Hill fears “As we start to come out of lockdown, we do anticipate there will be an increase in violence. There are a number of reasons, such as pent-up aggression. Where young people have been cooped up together, and as restrictions lift, people are more mobile.”

There will be a combination of people wanting to make up for lost time, projecting and processing emotions relating to the impacts of pandemic, as well as more opportunity to drink and socialise after months of restrictions, to be considered. It is expected these reasons happening simultaneously will lead to a “perfect storm” environment for anti-social behaviour, violence and petty crime often associated with late-night drinking culture.

The increase in violence can in part be put down to groups of people who have not socialised much over the last year and maybe less tolerant of others, now combined for the first time in months, fuelled by the effects of alcohol. Other crimes, such as vandalism, theft and public indecency are also seeing an increase due to greater opportunities to commit offences. This level of crime won’t have been experienced by the public for sometime and may cause distress at a worrying time. Communities with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are already raising anti-social behaviour as being a cause for concern in their area.

Knife crime is also steadily increasing. Hill comments “Figures show that for the first five months of this year, knife injuries among those aged 25 or under were broadly stable at 462 incidents, up 2% compared with January to May 2020, when there were 451 recorded incidents.” As outlined in our case study about helping a retailer tackle knife crime in their London stores, it is feared rates will dangerously accelerate once restrictions are fully lifted.

Our advice if you are planning on going out:

  • Be kind and considerate of others, especially those working in venues.
  • Be responsible for your own actions and those of your friends, especially after a few drinks.
  • Stay vigilant and safe away from harm’s way.
  • Report suspicious, abusive, or anti-social behaviour to the police.
  • Leave incidents to the professionals. If you see problems occurring, report to your nearest security or police to avoid risky escalation.

Our advice if you are worried about your premise and crime increase:

  • Now might be a good time to do a security audit and check your premises are safe.
  • Reinforce any perimeters or weak points which may be vulnerable, especially consider additional protection for glass fronting.
  • Install CCTV cameras. If you have them already, check they are working and being actively monitored. They act as both a deterrent and a means to gather evidence after an incident.
  • Speak to your security provider about how they might to be better support any anxieties or worries you may have. If you do not have one, we will happily help you.
  • Speak to our Sales team about INTEX247. This is our community safety & support app, helping businesses stay safe and fully informed of disturbances which may affect their daily continuity and operations.

To learn more about how we could support you in protecting your business during these worrying times, speak with our sales team HERE.

You may also enjoy reading about the current knife crime epidemic and our experience in handling sharp weapon incidents.