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POST-PANDEMIC CRIME TRENDS IN ENGLAND AND WALES

Published onDec 10, 2023
POST-PANDEMIC CRIME TRENDS IN ENGLAND AND WALES
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Abstract

This is a study of recorded crime trends in England & Wales. It covers the two years of the covid pandemic from March 2020 plus 18 ‘post-pandemic’ months following cessation of all covid restrictions on 24 February 2022. Observed crime rates are compared to expected (based on 5-year ARIMA models) and the ambient population (using Community Mobility Reports). It finds that, in Year 1, observed rates diverged dramatically from expected, waxing and waning generally in line with the movement restrictions of three national lockdowns. In Year 2, movement restrictions loosened and observed crime rates moved towards, but mostly remained far from, expected. In post-pandemic Year 3, people’s movement increased and observed crime rates continued towards expected. By mid-Year 4 many rates remained below expected levels, their mean monthly differences including: theft from person (-22%); burglary (-20%); vehicle crime (-29%); violence & sexual offences (-27%); robbery (-16%) and; public order offences (-21%). An exceptional increase in shoplifting achieved 20% above expected rates by August 2023. Methodological limitations and further research on shoplifting and other issues are discussed. The main conclusion is that crime trends generally followed ambient population movement and that enduring lifestyle changes in the post-pandemic period, notably increased work-from-home, account for continuing below-expected rates of many crime types.

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