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

This paper used Victoria Police recorded data to 31 December 2020 to examine offenders recorded for breaches of Chief Health Officer Directions, broader crime trends, and family violence incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This study found that disruptions to daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic had a flow on effect on recorded crime and these crime trends had not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Key findings include that: 

  • Victoria Police recorded 37,505 breach of CHO Directions offences in 2020. Most of these offences (or 80%, n=30,067 offences) were recorded between July and October.
  • There were 26,497 unique COVID-19 offenders recorded for breaching COVID-19-related public health order restrictions between April and December 2020, most (92%) received a Penalty Infringement Notice (fine).
  • There were 497,704 offences reported to police in 2020 (excluding COVID-19-related offences), an 8% decrease from the previous year when 538,454 offences were reported.
  • The pandemic and resulting restrictions impacted crime types differently. There was a decline in the number of offences committed from March 2020, most notably for Property and deception offences. More detail is available by offence type in the tableau visualisation below.
  • Compared to 2019 there were more (9%) family violence incidents reported to police in 2020, actual average monthly numbers were higher than forecasted.
  • Metropolitan Melbourne experienced a higher number of family violence incidents compared to regional Victoria.
  • The numbers of current partner and parent/child relationships in family incidents was higher than forecasted.

Select offence types committed and Victorian COVID-19 case numbers


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