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The Effects of COVID-19 on Crime in Australia

It’s safe to say living through a global pandemic is something that was new for all of us. No corner of the world was left untouched, no industry left unchanged.

This includes the crime rates here in Australia, though many officials, after looking back at crime rates in 2020, were surprised at some of the results.

What Crime Went Down?


According to the publication Crime Science, property offenses in 2020 decreased when compared to the rates of 2019. Such crimes include shop stealing, theft, and residential burglary. In some areas of Australia, the rate of property offenses recorded in 2020 were the lowest seen in 13 years.

What caused the decline? Experts note that shop stealing, theft, and burglary are often crimes of opportunity—thieves target places because they happen to be in the area rather choosing a specific business as the target of their crime. Because people were discouraged from going outdoors during the pandemic, the opportunities to commit crimes were greatly reduced.

Another factor—of the businesses that were open, shops employed more security and staff to monitor mask compliance and the following of social distancing regulations. The increased vigilance of shop workers may have discouraged potential thieves.

It should come as no surprise that the rate of residential burglaries dropped, given the fact that people were forced to shelter in place and work from home.

What Crime Went Up?

The rates for family-related crimes increased significantly during the pandemic. In Western Australia, offenses including threatening behaviour increased by 14.0% and family assaults increased by 9.5%. Both rates are the highest ever recorded.

According to officials working for Women’s Safety, a not-for-profit working to reduce instances of violence against women, mobility restrictions, unemployment, and financial insecurity led to a dramatic increase in violence against women.

In a survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology, 50% of women interviewed who had experienced previous family violence stated the abuse became more frequent or severe during the pandemic.

Also seeing an increase during 2020 were instances of graffiti vandalism, which saw an 18.4% increase. Despite lockdowns and strict stay-at-home orders, many used graffiti as way to express the stress and uncertainty that came with living through an unprecedented pandemic.

How to Keep Your Family Safe as Restrictions Relax

As the world slowly creeps back to some semblance of pre-2020 normal, you may find yourself going back to the office and falling into regular routines. This means less time at home, leaving your belongings at increased risk of theft.

Make sure your home is secure by:

  • Hiring a professional locksmith to review the safety of your doors and windows
  • Hiding valuables in unexpected places
  • Locking gates and garage doors
  • Removing mail and newspapers from the front of your home
  • Keeping your comings and goings off social media

You can read our full blog on how to prevent your home from being robbed by clicking here.

If you’d like to speak with a pro about needs specific to your home, contact our trusted locksmith team today. After all, your security is our priority.