Blog three in our security series and today we look at public realm.
Never before have we had such restrictions on enjoying public spaces, recreational grounds, beauty spots and even beaches. That said, there will always be those who exploit the situation for crime and personal gain. We need to be aware.
As the market to drugs becomes restricted via border controls tightening and access to supply and demand shrinks, the lack of income from regular clients will have a dramatic impact on gangs trading in the supply of illegal substances. Recent press reports suggest that gang violence has reduced since social distancing measures have been implemented, however the supply and demand will continue using different tactics from using ‘cuckooing’ vulnerable users’ households, to remote dropping of supply. Once social distancing measures relax, violence will no doubt increase. With the expected demand on hospitals due to COVID–19, treating gang violence may become an additional strain on services.
With school closures, there is also a risk that county lines drug runners will still be more accessible to be introduced to or continue working for gangs.
Figures for the year ending September 2019 showed a 7% rise in sharp instrument offence and was recorded by the police as 44,771 offences, an increase of 46% comparable to when recording began in 2011.
Police cuts have resulted in 20,000 officers fewer ‘boots on ground’ since 2010. With Police planning to expect up to 25% off during this crisis, we must expect that Police response will be to critical scenarios as priority. This may provide opportunity to the offender knowing that the lack of a capable guardian (or response) is going to allow them success in planned or opportunistic crime.
As many are now working from home, available public realm is for some the only outlet for daily exercise. However, those that are looking for easy targets may take advantage of the lack of Police and Private Security coverage, also other realm users who would normally be there providing natural deterrence and natural surveillance.
The likelihood is if you are going out for exercise, you will be more isolated and exposed than previously.