Lockdown sees move from community to 'neighbourly' crime in Dereham

Police in Dereham have issued a warning. Picture: NORFOLK POLICE

Dereham's police said the lockdown had helped to reduce crime in the town.

Crime in a Norfolk town has moved from anti-social behaviour to more "neighbourly" issues as people stay at home during lockdown, police have said.

Overall, crime in the Breckland town had dropped during the latest lockdown, Sgt Matthew Howes said at a Wednesday meeting of Dereham’s Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP).

Sgt Matthew Howes, who is a new sergeant at Thetford.For Ian Clarke.

Sgt Matthew Howes. - Credit: Norfolk Police

But lockdown had seen a shift in offending which includes more neighbourly disputes, and more instances of people being reported missing across Norfolk as they get cabin fever.

He said: “With lockdown we’ve seen a change in things: we haven’t seen the people going to the public houses, we haven’t seen any form of assaults around the nighttime economy.

“We’ve seen a change from the community type of anti-social behaviour, more to the neighbourly anti-social behaviour. That’s understandable.

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"People are within their home addresses more and more because of the current Covid restrictions. Unfortunately not everyone gets on with their neighbours."

Beetley parish councillor Robert Richmond asked about increasing instances of elderly people in Norfolk going missing and needing to be found.

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“People are getting stir-crazy with the lockdown. We have had people go walkabout and there have been cases in North Norfolk, and in the Thetford area,” said PC Jon Downs, who added that similar instances had not been recorded in Dereham. 

Police officer 508 Jon Downs, was stationed in the heart of Dereham to make sure social distancing w

PC Jon Downs - Credit: Archant

“We’re quite lucky in the Dereham area: it’s quite a close-knit community. Everybody seems to know everybody round here,” he added.

“People are going out for their longer walks, people are going out for their daily exercise, and unfortunately some people do stray off the beaten path sometimes and get themselves lost, but we’ve been quite lucky, thankfully.”

The number of offences committed in Dereham fell to 94 in the period of December 21, 2020 to January 17, 2021, compared with 127 in the prior four weeks.

Burglaries specifically however had increased by 3 offences between those same periods.

“There isn’t a spate going on, there’s nothing to be concerned about, but we are focused with regard to our resources and we monitor those figures,” said Mr Howes.

The next SNAP meeting will be held on April 28 2021 at 7pm, via Microsoft Teams (downloadable for free). Further details can be sought by emailing SNTDereham@norfolk.police.uk

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