With a huge number of the population in financial uncertainty because of the rise of interest rates, the rise in energy prices, rise in fuel prices, rise in food prices and rise in rent prices, we are looking to see if there is any correlation between this and the rise in crime in the UK.
Regional police forces have warned that with the cost of most things in the UK going up in price, there has already been in some areas and will be in others, a rise in crime to come.
Tom McNeil of the West Midlands Police has said “the cost of living will result in a crime spike” and this view has been backed up by Chief Inspector of the Constabulary, A Cooke who said “I think whenever you seen an increase in the cost of living or whenever you see more people dropping into poverty, I think you’ll invariably see a rise in crime.”
Have crime rates gone up?
If you read local news sites or local newspapers, it would seem that all you hear about is the latest criminal activity in your area. Interestingly there has been an increase in crime in the UK but not in the areas of crime you would necessarily expect it to.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in the year ending March 2022 there was a 37% increase in fraud and computer misuse offences and a 20% decrease in theft. In comparison with the years in the pandemic, there was also an increase in sexual offenses of 32%, taking the annual figure in England and Wales to 194,683 offenses including 70,330 rape offenses.
The rise in computer misuse and fraud offenses could be linked to the cost-of-living crisis as people try to make quick money by targeting people without even meeting them with scams and bank fraud. The Office for National Statistics does suggest though that the rise in fraud did start in the pandemic and has since returned to these levels, suggesting that as people’s behaviour changed so did criminal’s tactics and not an overall change in trend.
Maybe not so surprisingly, though the rates of theft overall have gone down, the rates of countryside crime has increased. According to the National Farmers Union Mutual, in the first quarter of 2022 there was a huge increase in theft of Land Rover Defenders (87% increase), trailer theft (increase of 5%) and livestock rustling (increase 3.7%).
The figures from around the UK offers a good insight to the rate of crime, or at least reported crime, increasing.
How many crimes are actually solved in the UK?
This is a question that so many ask, worry about and unfortunately get the answer to.
According to the Gov website, just 7% of crimes in the UK resulted in a charge or summons.
There are a number of possibilities why such a small amount of crimes are being solved in the UK. It could be due to the huge budget cuts the police force has faced in recent years, resulting in thousands less police officers on our streets. The problem could be due to the lack of evidence, which according to the Gov website 40% of cases were closed as a result of ‘evidential difficulty’. Or, it could be due to the change of criminal habits, for example; the rise in online fraud and reduction in theft, making it harder to find suspects or evidence.
The question has been raised, if there is no deterrent, why wouldn’t people commit crimes? Especially if they are in financial hardship themselves.
Is the cost-of-living crisis playing a part in the rise of crime?
According to many sources, the cost-of-living crisis will have an effect on crime rates around the UK with people becoming more and more desperate to provide for themselves. The President of the Country Land and Business Association, Mark Tufnell has said that “as the cost-of-living crisis worsens, criminals will be more organised and more determined to carry out their illegal activities.”
With the rise in crime around the UK it can be suggested that people are now resorting to more desperate measures to put food on the table or put petrol in their tanks. People who once upon a time would not have considered turning to crime now are.
According to Parliament Publications 37% of the prison population in the UK are long-term career criminals and the percentage of first-time offender is 13%, rising from 9% in June 2013. It has also been suggested that many people who are being caught shoplifting or carrying out crimes for money are first time offenders.
Experts have commented that there is likely to be a rise in crime as the cost-of-living crisis in the UK continues as people will likely turn to desperate measures. As the ‘real cost-of-living crisis’ has only started getting attention and has been getting worst in the last 9 months or so.
The data mentioned above is from March 2021 to March 2022, so next year’s results will offer a more in depth look into if the insurance companies’ and police’s opinion on the relationship between hard financial times and crime rates of the UK will increase.
How can I ensure financial stability at the moment?
It is a hard question to answer at the moment as things are constantly changing not just in the UK but also around the world. With a lot of the rise in cost of living being blamed on things out of our control, it is impossible to say if the prices of the things we need to live will go down in price or even stabilise.
There are some good tips though on how to save some money during these hard times that could mean that you can start to save a little money off of your monthly bills.
Careful with the kettle. If you only fill up your kettle with the amount of water you need for your drink instead of filling it all the way up, you can save a lot of money a year on your electricity bill.
Unplug your chargers. Most of us will our appliances on charge even once they are fully charged. Not only is this wasting electricity but it is depleting the battery life of your laptop or phone. Unplug your chargers once your appliance is charged.
Switch off standby. Switching off appliances at the wall can save you around £35 a year. Plugged in appliances are still using electricity.
Reduce your water waste. Opt for a shower instead of a bath and don’ t leave the shower running when you are not in it. Ny reducing the amount of time you run your shower for can significantly reduce your energy bill, especially if you are using an electric shower.
Load up on laundry. Do your laundry on full loads. Half loads save very little energy, so do fewer but fuller washes.
Though it is hard at the moment and the minority of people are resorting to crime to help to survive, there are other ways to help you and your family during this crisis without risking the stability of yours and your family’s life.