Newly shared police figures reveal number of Hitchin crimes over past year

Market Place, Hitchin could soon become an outdoor eating area. Picture: DANNY LOO

Coronavirus and lockdowns have had a significant impact on the number of reported crimes in Hitchin - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Statistics on the number of crimes in Hitchin have been released by the town's urban neighbourhood policing team.

Sgt Alan Clarke, of Hitchin's safer neighbourhood policing team, shared the data with those in attendance at a meeting of the Hitchin Committee earlier this month.

The figures break down crimes in the Hitchin area over the past 12 months, and provide a historic comparison to the year before (2019/20).

Sgt Clarke began his remarks by sharing the obvious impact the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns had on the numbers of crimes that were reported in the town over the past year.

In total, there were 1,660 reported crimes in Hitchin between April, 1 2020 and March, 1 2021 - a decrease of 20 per cent on the previous year's figure.

There were 51 reported residential burglaries, down 34 per cent from the 77 the year before and 34 business burglaries, down from 53.

Robberies fell to 13, down from a total of 20 the year prior, while there was just one reported business robbery in Hitchin this year.

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Violence against a person - which may include assault, malicious communications or a public order - dropped from 682 reports to 593.

Thefts were also less common, with 130 reports this year compared to the 153 in 2019/20 and reported criminal damage incidents also fell, from 254 to 177 in the same period.

And reported domestic abuse crimes in North Herts fell by 14 per cent in 2020/21.

The one category which increased over the past year was drug-related crime, which rose from 89 reported cases to 91.

Sgt Clarke concluded: "COVID-19 and lockdowns has had a significant impact on the number of crimes reported in the Hitchin urban area."

Sgt Clarke also praised the number of people signing up to the "extremely effective" local OWL and neighbourhood watch schemes - with Hitchin having 4,550 members or roughly a quarter of the town's households.

Locally, these figures match national trends published by the Office for National Statistics, which showed that reported crimes fluctuated over the past year thanks to the pandemic.

In England and Wales, total police recorded crime decreased by 6 per cent to approximately 5.7 million offences up until September 2020.