The number of crimes recorded in Northern Ireland has fallen by nearly a third in the five weeks starting 23 March – giving us a first glimpse of how the Covid-19 lockdown has affected crime in the UK.
The figures, released today by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, shows that all major types of crime have seen a downward progression since the beginning of the lockdown.
Sexual offences in particular were down by nearly half (48.8%) compared to the same period last year, with robberies down by 43.9%. Drug offences were down 39.3% and burglaries by 39.0% as people spend more time in their homes.
Northern Ireland is the first to release records of crime activity that cover a significant time period since social distancing measures were introduced in the UK.
Data regarding crime levels for England, Scotland and Wales is only available up to the end of March 2020 so cannot reliably be used to track trends.
The figures for Northern Ireland are for recorded crimes – by definition, crimes that do not get reported to the police will not feature in the statistics.