Police-recorded crime trends in Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic: update to end of December

The Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) has today released updated research on crime trends in Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic, with data to end of December 2020.

In 2020 there were 37,505 offences recorded by police for breaches of COVID-19 Chief Health Officer Directions. These were recorded against 26,497 unique COVID-19 offenders, most of whom (92%) received a Penalty Infringement Notice (fine). One in five alleged offenders who breached the Chief Health Officer Directions breached these Directions on multiple occasions.

The pandemic, resulting restrictions and changes in mobility and everyday life impacted on Victorian crime reported to police. There was an 8% decrease in offences reported to police in the year ending December 2020 (from 538,454 to 497,704 offences 2020 -excluding COVID-19-related offences).

There was also a decline in the number of offences committed from March 2020, most notably for Property and deception offences such as burglary/break and enter and theft and these crime trends had not returned to pre-pandemic levels. While the impact of offences committed during the pandemic was different for other crime types, there were increases in family violence related common assault and drug use and possession offences.

Overall, there was a 9% increase in family violence incidents reported to police in 2020. This study found that the actual average monthly numbers for family incidents were higher than forecasted and the numbers of current partner and parent/child relationships in family incidents was higher than forecasted.

The paper Police-recorded crime trends in Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic: an update to December 2020 is available here.