Crime in Northern Ireland has dropped by a third after lockdown measures were introduced, new PSNI statistics show.
There were 7,138 crimes recorded by the PSNI in the period between March 23 and April 26.
That was down from 10,491 reported in the same period in 2019.
Crimes fell across all categories, except murder. There was were homicides during the period compared to two during the same time frame in 2019.
The statistics show:
* * Violence against the person has fallen by more than one fifth,
* Violence with and without injury both fell by around one third,
* Sexual offences have fallen by half,
* Robberies dropped by more than two fifths,
* Robbery of personal robbery more than halved, while robbery of business property has fallen slightly from 14 to 12,
* Theft offences have fallen by nearly half,
* Burglaries are nearly two fifths lower,
* Shoplifting is three fifths lower,
* Vehicle offences have fallen by more than two fifths; and
* Criminal damage has fallen by more than one third.
* Drug offences have fallen by nearly half and public order offences have fallen by more than one third.
Justice Minister Naomi Long welcomed the decline in reported crime.
“These statistics reflect the public adherence to the current lockdown and social distancing restrictions,” she said.
“However this is not a time to be complacent. We must all continue to adhere to the regulations whilst they remain in place. Victims’ services remain fully operational in this period of lockdown.
“Despite the overall decrease in crime, I am acutely aware of the increase in reporting for incidents within a domestic setting.
“I am fully conscious of the detrimental impact Covid-19 is having on victims of domestic violence and abuse and their greater vulnerability during this period. It is important that those suffering from abuse, violence or the threat of violence in their home reach out and seek help.
“Victims need to know that they are not alone and that support and help continues to be available. The 24 hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline run by Nexus remains fully operational (0808 802 1414) and additional staffing and training has been secured to bolster resources during the pandemic period, and if you feel you are in danger, you should contact the police.
“Over recent weeks, my department has taken proactive steps, working on a multi-agency basis to ensure joined-up responses for those who are vulnerable at this time and require particular protections.
“This has included provision of much needed support, advice and practical help such as accommodation for those needing to leave their homes.”
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “Crime has fallen across each of the main crime types, with the exception of homicides with six having been recorded, compared with two in the same time period the previous year.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has created a uniquely challenging environment in which the PSNI, and indeed wider society, must function and operate.
“However, our priority and commitment to keep people safe remains unchanged.”