If there was one positive result from the COVID-19 shutdown it would be the downward pressure it put on the Toowoomba crime rate.

Offending is down across the city by 20-30 per cent compared to the same time last year.

About 1148 offences were recorded in March 2019 compared to just 732 in March 2020.

June 2019 had 1232 offences recorded compared with 913 a year later.

Police processed 1054 offences in the September 2019 but as few as 803 in 2019.

The largest drop was in unlawful entry and burglary offences, theft, fraud, public drunkenness and traffic offences.

Inspector Paul James said there were several factors behind the drop.

“But COVID-19 would be pivotal in the overall result,” he said.

The lockdown meant fewer people on the roads and more staying at home, which limited opportunities from criminals to strike.

The number of offences recorded in Toowoomba has dropped in the past 24 months, thanks mostly to the COVID-19 shutdown.
The number of offences recorded in Toowoomba has dropped in the past 24 months, thanks mostly to the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Offences against property, such as burglary and car theft have reduced about 30 per cent,” Insp James said

“Certainly when we were in the lockdown there was a reduction in offending and that has carried through to some extent.

“Logically there has been more security around homes and vehicles with fewer options in terms of travel or events.”

The drop in crime is beneficial for our police as their resources were redirected to manning the state border, maintaining security at COVID-19 quarantine hotels and helping Queensland Health officers with contact tracing.

There has been a marked drop certain offences over the past 12 months, in Toowoomba.
There has been a marked drop certain offences over the past 12 months, in Toowoomba.

Despite the drop said Insp James police and public could not become complacent.

“When a crime is reported to us by a member of the public it is still investigated in the same manner as previously,” he said.

“Our clear up rates locally have always remained high.

“We have seen a lot of less of the police detected, social behaviour type offences associated with alcohol and events because obviously there have been the restrictions around the gatherings and licensed premises.

“Traditionally we see offences rise over the Christmas period and other holidays and it is also a danger period on our roads.

“I think this year people will really celebrate Christmas so it will be more important that they are conscious about security and safety.”

Originally published as Why Toowoomba crime rate has dropped by 30 per cent


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