New recorded crime statistics show many major offences were lower in quarter 3 of 2020 compared with historic norms. All high volume property and many violent crimes fell sharply in April 2020 in line with measures to reduce the spread of the pandemic. Since then offending has increased, but in most cases is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
An exception to this is sexual assault which rose 10% year-on-year to September 2020. This is the only offence to show a significant upward trend over that period. The increase in sexual assault is due to a rise in contemporary child sexual assault reports (that is, not historic child sex reports or adult victimisation).
These 11 offences showed downward trends in the 24 months to September 2020:
- Non-domestic assault – Down 7.3%
- Robbery without a weapon – Down 17.1%
- Break and enter dwelling – Down 18.1%
- Break and enter non-dwelling – Down 20.5%
- Motor vehicle theft – Down 11.0%
- Steal from motor vehicle – Down 21.9%
- Steal from retail store – Down 20.6%
- Steal from dwelling – Down 8.7%
- Steal from person – Down 36.6%
- Fraud – Down 12.1%
- Malicious damage to property – Down 5.8%
The five remaining major offences were stable: Domestic assault, Murder, Indecent assault, Robbery with a firearm and Robbery with a weapon not a firearm.
Commenting on the findings, BOCSAR Executive Director, Jackie Fitzgerald, said that violent crime appears to be returning to pre-pandemic levels more quickly than property crime. “Non-domestic assault is now only slightly below 2019 levels. By contrast, in quarter 3 of 2020 Break & enter – dwelling was 33% below equivalent 2019 figures, car theft was 17% lower and retail theft was 34% lower.”