What impact has the coronavirus lockdown had on crime in Welwyn Hatfield?

PUBLISHED: 08:38 10 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:59 11 May 2020

A comparison between crime data for Welwyn Hatfield in March 2020 and March 2019.

A comparison between crime data for Welwyn Hatfield in March 2020 and March 2019.

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The latest Welwyn Hatfield crime data for March 2020 has been released, the first month to include data from the lockdown.

While the yet unreleased data for April may be more revealing of any significant changes, we decided to compare the data, from Herts Police, British Transport Police and Met police, between March 2020 and March 2019.

The United Kingdom officially went in to lockdown on March 23, though many were socially distancing prior to this.

The most notable change was for possessions of weapons which fell from 13 cases in March 2019 to 3 cases in March 2020 – 77 per cent lower.

There were 14 fewer incidents of vehicle crime and a 70 per cent drop in bike thefts.

Although anti-social behaviour rose by 23 cases and many levels of crime were very similar.

Overall there was just over a three per cent drop for March 2020 in all reported crime in Welwyn Hatfield but with a slight difference in the levels of crimes.

Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Simon Mason said: “It is encouraging to see reductions in a number of crimes since last year. For example, the number of bike thefts has decreased following tireless work by the Safer Neighbourhood Team. This has involved proactive operations, regular patrols and bike marking events.

“Anti-social behaviour (ASB) remains an issue that we are working hard to fix. We understand the negative effect that ASB has on residents’ quality of life and we regularly patrol the hotspot areas. Where offenders are identified, officers work directly with the council’s anti-social behaviour and housing teams to take proportionate but firm action. We have noticed, since the lockdown, that ASB is becoming more prevalent between neighbours and I would urge anyone who is concerned about their neighbours not following social distancing rules to make contact with us so that we can address it.

“We are in unprecedented times due to COVID-19 and this has affected crime numbers especially as we are all at home more. While we’ve seen a countywide decrease in acquisitive crimes such as robbery, burglary and theft, there has been an increase in domestic abuse reports. I would like to take this opportunity to remind Welwyn Hatfield residents that the Constabulary’s domestic abuse unit remains well-resourced and continues to provide a specialist investigative response to victims. Information for victims of domestic abuse about how to contact police or access support services can be found at herts.police.uk/Information-and-services/Advice/Coronavirus-COVID-19/domestic-abuse.

“We always welcome the community’s feedback and I would encourage you to get in touch using the Constabulary’s public feedback service echo. Please let us know what matters most to you about policing in Welwyn Hatfield. Simply go to bit.ly/police-welhat and have your say.”

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