The Covid crisis impacted on overall crime rates across Northern Ireland, with decreases in recorded crime in eight of the region’s 11 policing districts, according to PSNI data.
In the 12 months to May, recorded crime across Northern Ireland as a whole dropped by 5.1% and, in Belfast, it decreased by 8.1% — the second largest drop of the 11 districts. Fermanagh and Omagh saw a significant decrease of 16.4%.
Other decreases were seen in Mid Ulster (a 7.3% drop), Mid and East Antrim (5.9%), and Antrim and Newtownabbey (5.4%). The lowest year-on-year decrease was in the Causeway Coast and Glens area (1.5%). Recorded crime increased in Lisburn and Castlereagh (a 0.6% rise); Newry, Mourne and Down (0.8%), and Derry City and Strabane (2.3%).
Belfast had 29,278 recorded crimes in the 12 months to May, compared with 10,011 in Derry City and Strabane and 9,833 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. At 3,818 recorded crimes, Fermanagh and Omagh has the lowest total, although council areas do have different population sizes. Across NI, 97,425 crimes were recorded over this period.
However, these figures relate solely to recorded crimes — not all crimes that took place. Police in Belfast operate from four bases: Lisburn Road in south Belfast, Tennent Street (north), Strandtown (east) and Woodbourne (west).
In terms of recorded crime, south Belfast saw the largest decrease in recorded crime in the 12 months to May, compared with the previous year, at 22.9%. The east of the city saw a 4.2% drop, while in the west and north, the decrease was 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively.
Figures for the month of May show police in the Lisburn Road area received 601 reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) incidents, 369 reports of violence and sex offences, 117 reports of criminal damage and arson, and 73 reports of theft. Police in Tennent Street received 466 reports of ASB in May, as well as 420 reports of violence and sex offences, 159 incidents of criminal damage and arson, and 88 thefts.
In Strand Road, police received 346 ASB reports, 320 reports of violence and sex offences, 111 of criminal damage and arson, and 93 thefts. In Woodbourne, police received 289 reports of ASB, 220 reports of violence and sex offences, 78 of criminal damage and arson, and 47 thefts.