How will crime figures be impacted during lockdown? Professor Graham Farrell explains in The Conversation

Professor Farrell and Nick Tilley have co-authored the article in The Conversation which acknowledges that life under lockdown is altering the way people live.

Therefore, in turn, the way in which crime occurs is also shifting.

Professor Farrell says that on the whole the shift will be positive as fewer crimes will take place. The article states that “some areas have already seen recorded crime drop by as much as 20%”.

Professor Farrell explains that “Movement (or its absence) is central to everything because a potential offender must encounter a potential target for a crime to take place. The target might be a person, a building or a product. All this means that because lockdowns have changed our movements dramatically, we can expect a similarly dramatic change to the distribution of crime opportunities.”

Therefore, the most dramatic drop of crime rates will be those which take place in public spaces. However, crimes will still take place under lockdown but they will be committed in different ways and environments as people find new opportunities.

The article suggests that, under lockdown, the home makes an interesting case study for crime. With a vast proportion of the population spending the majority of their time at home, domestic burglary and car crime is anticipated to fall, as people within the home act as a deterrent to thieves. Additionally, with fewer people out on the streets it is easier to spot an inconspicuous individual. However, it is not all good news for the home, as there is an increased chance for domestic and family violence to take place. Also, you can still be a victim of online fraud while staying at home. The rate of online fraud is expected to surge as new opportunities arise for fraudsters.

It is also expected that workplace harassment will decrease as people are not meeting physically; however, there is the potential that this will simply shift to online harassment instead. Having said that, many technologies can capture and document online harassment so there is a greater chance that the perpetrators can be held accountable which may act as a deterrent.

New crimes are emerging, such as malicious coronavirus coughing. The article states that “There have been reports of people targeting members of the public, police and paramedics. A man and a woman have already been jailed for six months and 12 weeks respectively in two separate cases”.

The article concludes that crimes are still taking place, so police and policymakers need to continue to reinforce crime reduction tactics while also preventing new criminal opportunities from arising.

Read the full The Conversation article.