Covid crime stats

Monday August 24th 2020

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Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The number of complaints about anti-social behaviour rose by 55 per cent in Midlothian during lockdown.

A police report on crime in the county between April and June this year reveals the huge spike in complaints, which rose from 1, 068 during the same period last year to 1, 662 this year.

However, it said the rise in complaints was largely caused by people reporting neighbours for flouting lockdown rules.

It said: “A large contributory factor for these increases is attributed to the Covid-19 lockdown, whereby a spike in reported incidents was identified resulting from communities throughout Midlothian reporting potential lockdown breaches (including non-residents visiting addresses, and barbecues/gatherings involving groups larger than or consisting of family dynamics not permitted by the emergency guidance).”

The report said that while people in Midlothian “in the main” followed lockdown advice, daily police patrols were introduced using high-visibility quad bikes during the day in some areas and foot patrols in others.

It said the policing style adopted during lockdown was effective and in the end only 68 fixed penalty notices were issued in the county during the first three months of the financial year.

While anti-social behaviour saw a jump in reports during lockdown, other crimes fell substantially as well.

The number of minor road accidents fell by 77 per cent from 26 to six incidents, while house break-ins fell by 56 per cent to just 20 compared to the numbers over the same period last year.

Violent crime also fell, with a 50 per cent drop in serious assaults.

Domestic abuse incidents remained at almost the same number as last year, with 303 incidents – up just one.

However, the police report said that during lockdown, Midlothian officers saw the number of reports of domestic violence fall to its second lowest rate for the year before it began to rise.

It said: “Following the initial reduction, domestic incidents increased throughout the lockdown period, peaking in week six to levels higher than recorded during the festive period, which is traditionally a peak period for domestic abuse.

“A further spike was recorded in week nine, which coincided with the first easing of lockdown measures in Scotland on May 28 allowing people to leave their homes and meet up with people from other households and therefore increasing opportunities for victims to seek support.

“This may provide some explanation for the spike during week nine.”

Drugs crimes were also down, although the number of charges for drug supply doubled from 10 last year to 20 this year.

The report added: “Midlothian has seen a dramatic rise in the quantities of drugs recovered, a significant incident as a result of proactive policing who stopped a vehicle as part of the night-time economy patrols, yielding a seizure of 23 kilos of cannabis with a street value of £250,000 to £300,000.”

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