Throughout the past year and a half, Covid-19 related lockdowns and restrictions, crime levels have fluctuated as situations have changed. With general levels rising and falling, as well as changes in which crimes have been more prominent, as well as new crimes rearing their heads too, security has never been more important across the UK and beyond. For CCTV companies, this could mean a significant rise in demand as businesses start going back to the office and opening up to the public. Is yours ready?
The Lockdown Effect
Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been one clear trend when it comes to crime – when we’re in a lockdown, crime appears to reduce, change and fluctuate in a variety of different ways. For example, during lockdowns and other restrictions in movement, the ONS has reported decreases in physical crimes compared to March 2019, including theft (down 20%) and a 19% total decrease in overall crime in March 2021.
As far as physically violent crimes are concerned, the UK saw a 28% decrease in the total number of victims of violent crimes compared to March 2019. However, there is no evidence to suggest a reduction in the number of incidents, meaning that victims may have fallen subject to these crimes multiple times, and often by someone that they knew. The falls in violence against strangers suggest that domestic violence and peer-related incidents were at the forefront.
Overall, however, the pandemic seemed to have resulted in a decrease in crime, including the number of homicides (down 16%), firearms-related offences (down 14%) and offences involving knives and other sharp weapons (down 15%). There were also reported reductions in physical theft-related offences, with fraud and online theft taking their place. There has been a whopping 36% increase in these offences compared to March 2019, with technology-based crimes taking the reigns in overall crime numbers.
Romance Fraud, the act of scamming people out of money by pretending to want a relationship, has been particularly rife over lockdown, with UK Finance reporting a 20% rise in bank transfers linked to fraudulent romance-related scams in 2020 compared to the previous year. People were seeking out companionship across lockdown, and online dating became the method of choice for a lot of people, making this particular fraud style a popular one.
Dog theft has also seen a catastrophic rise in the past year or so, likely fuelled by the sudden demand for dogs and puppies across the course of the pandemic. With Brits being stuck at home, puppies have become a popular choice for companionship and a way to fill the time, but it drove prices through the roof and for thieves, this offered a huge opportunity. The Kennel Club reported a 168% increase in people searching for puppies alone, which has resulted in 196 cases of dog theft every month, a 7% rise from 2019.
What The Numbers Are Telling Us
Covid has had a huge impact on mental health across the UK and for some, this manifests in crime and antisocial behaviour. Crime changed considerably over lockdown, but as we head out of the pandemic and back to normal life, it’s changing yet again and certainly not for the better. While the effects of the pandemic are still in place, with dog theft, fraud and domestic violence still at horrific highs, the sudden increase in violent and other physical crimes are putting pressure on the police like never before.
Following the first lockdown, the UK saw a rise in the number of crimes, including knife-related offences. In fact, knife offences rose considerably by 25% in July-September 2020 when compared to the previous quarter, and threats to kill involving knives rose by 13% compared to the year previous. Police warned the public as early as February this year that the UK could see these rises following the second lockdown, with expectations for a rise across the board, including knife crime, retail crime and public disorder, with an expected explosion of crime over the summer.
While a lot of this has to do with the physical availability of being able to conduct crime now that people are allowed to be out and about, it’s also predicted that these crimes could be a result of children and young people having been left vulnerable to exploitation and violence online across lockdowns, and with rises in unemployment and poor prospects for the near future, there is little to discourage young people – and often older generations too – from entering dangerous situations.
What This Means for CCTV Installers
For businesses starting to go back to normality in the office, upgrading security systems is being seen widely as a priority. For CCTV companies and installers, this means that not only could demand increase, but the need for improved systems, advice and reassurance is also likely to grow in the coming months. If you are a CCTV installer, now is the time to get on top of your own business to ensure you’re in a position to provide the best possible service to your clients.
You should consider:
- Insurance – CCTV Installers Insurance is a key part of running a successful business not only as peace of mind for you and your business but as additional security for your clients and customers. Installing CCTV comes with risks for you, your employees and your customers, including dropping objects causing injuries, damage to property, trips, slips and falls and more. With the right insurance policy, you can ensure that you and your clients are covered financially in the case of an accident.
- Regulations – When operating a CCTV-related business in the UK, you are likely going to fall under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Security Industry Authority (SIA), so it’s vital that you make sure your business complies with all regulations and legislation relating to installing CCTV. You should also ensure that you and your clients are up to date with their training.
- Customer Service – Times have been tough and are still highly stressful, so it’s important that your customer service is impeccable as things return back to normal. Being able to answer questions, stay in touch with clients as they learn the system and more can really make all the difference.
- Staffing – Do you have enough staff to deal with demand? Can you afford to take on more staff to cater to demand? Taking a look at your current staff levels and the expected workload over the next few months is important to ensure that you can keep up and don’t bite off more than you can chew. This will also ensure you can allocate resources properly to your clients, providing a better experience overall.
For more information about how our CCTV Installers Insurance works and why you need it for your business as crime rates rise across the UK, feel free to get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance for a quick and easy online quote.