COVID-19 lockdown leads to fall in crime in Falkirk but rise in domestic offending

Our new lockdown lifestyles have coincided with a fall in the overall crime levels in Forth Valley but COVID-19 restrictions have also seen “behind closed doors” domestic offending increase.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 5:50 pm

Police Scotland has released its quarter three management information data, covering the period of April 1 to December 31, 2020 – a period which saw the majority of the country locked down or restricted from their normal lives in some form or another.

According to the police statistics, overall crime in Scotland has fallen and in the Forth Valley area there have been 655 fewer incidents compared to the same period in 2019.

The statistics also show detection rates for crimes occurring within Forth Valley has risen by two per cent during the period.

While overall crime dropped in 2020 compared to 2019 there were increases in domestic offences including attempted murder

Police admitted large numbers of Forth Valley residents remaining at home throughout the pandemic contributed to a reduction in domestic house breakings, which decreased from 254 to 150.

Domestic offending, however, increased.

In Scotland as a whole the number of crimes of this kind increased from 30,459 to 31,008.

Assault and threatening and abusive behaviour accounted for the highest proportion of domestic abuse crimes and attempted murder in a domestic context increased by 40.6 per cent – 13 more crimes in 2020 than 2019.

Across Scotland, antisocial behaviour has risen and this was also the case in Forth Valley, with over 4000 more incidents being recorded for overall antisocial behaviour incidents than at the same period in 2019.

Drug crime also increased with 1630 incidents recorded in 2020 compared to 1522 in 2019.

And, despite COVID-19 restrictions limiting travel, there has been on overall rise in motoring offences – including drink-driving, speeding and driving without a licence offences.

Forth Valley commander Chief Superintendent Alan Gibson said: “While I am very encouraged by the overall reduction in crime, I am fully aware the ongoing impact of coronavirus, is likely to have played a part in the number of offences occurring.

“DCC Fiona Taylor has reiterated the chief’s commitment for Police Scotland to always be here to help the public who we serve and I am grateful for the continued dedication and professionalism of all policing teams within the division for helping keep Forth Valley a safe place to live, work and visit.

“Nationally, fraud and antisocial behaviour are on the rise and the effect of this has also been felt within Forth Valley, but I want to encourage communities to keep coming forward and reporting these crimes, so they can be properly investigated.

“Tackling violence and promoting road safety are both national and divisional priorities and, while I welcome the reduction in offences using a weapon, I am once again disappointed motoring offences, including drink-driving, have risen.

“I want to make it clear that getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be tolerated. If you choose to do so, you will be caught, you will be arrested and you will lose your licence.

“Please help us make the Forth Valley road network safe for all who use it.”