News | Saul Cooke-Black - Local Democracy Reporting Service | Published: 16:32, Monday August 3rd, 2020.
Last updated: 16:32, Monday August 3rd, 2020
Crime in the Gwent Police force area fell by 19% during the coronavirus lockdown compared to the same period last year, a report shows.
Between March 26 and May 11, a total of 6,221 crimes were recorded in the Gwent area, which comprises of Caerphilly, Newport, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire, compared to 7,679 the same time last year.
Shoplifting crimes fell by 49%, criminal damage and arson incidents reduced by 39% and violence with injury offences saw a drop of 26%.
There were also falls in the number of burglaries, thefts, robberies and sexual offences recorded.
But drug offences went up by 22% and possession of weapons offences increased by 70%.
A Gwent Police and Crime Panel report says this was “likely to be driven by increased police proactivity during the period”.
Antisocial behaviour also went up during the 47-day period, but the report says it is difficult to gauge an accurate picture of the number of incidents as many of the reports were linked to the lockdown, such as reports of groups of people outside.
The overall number of reports of anti-social behaviour incidents went up by 475 per cent compared to last year, with 7,378 reports.
But out of these, 6,661 were related to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The number of people arrested during the Covid period was also up, with 1,257 arrests compared to 1,090 in the same period in 2019.
Hand washing facilities and glass screens in interview rooms at custody units were introduced by the Gwent force in response to the rise.
Domestic crimes remained stable during the lockdown, despite concerns victims may lose the opportunity to report incidents.
But reporting of hate crime “fell rapidly” at the start of lockdown, though it has since returned to expected levels, the crime panel report says.
A Community Tension Forum was set up by Gwent Police to encourage reporting of hate crime, monitor community tensions and support Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
Jeff Cuthbert, police and crime commissioner for Gwent, said: “Like the rest of the country we have seen a fall in reported crime across Gwent during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am reassured that the slight rises we have seen, such as drug offences, reflect proactive policing and the commitment from both myself and the chief constable of Gwent Police to tackle serious and organised crime.”
Mr Cuthbert added crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual violence are likely to be “significantly under reported during this time” and urged people to report these to Gwent Police or the Welsh Government’s Live Fear Free hotline on 0808 8010 800.
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