A Conjunctural analysis of crimes and offenses recorded by the police and gendarmerie at the end of March 2020 was released by French authorities. It would appear that the COVID-19 hype is good for something (apart from presumably being good for the environment) and that is: it almost halved crime rates in France.
In the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, which has led, in particular, to self-isolation measures since March 17, 2020, the French Ministerial Statistical Department for Internal Security (SSMSI) published the main monthly crime rates recorded by the security service. The indicators show a significant decrease in March 2020, the interpretation of which is complicated for several reasons. Firstly, the self-isolation regime complicates the conditions for complaints, both for victims and for human rights advocates. Some forms of crime do not manifest themselves in conditions of self-isolation, while others intensify. Finally, since the quarantine regime was introduced in mid-March, some effects will become “visible” only in the next few months and will be analyzed in the next monthly conjunctural ratings.
Statistical data, unlike usual practice, is not provided for a three-month period, but only events in March are described and are compared against data for February.
|Number of reported cases in March 2020||Variation in %||Number of registered cases over the last three months|
|March / February 2020||Number of cases||Variation in %|
|Murders (including injuries and bodily injuries causing death)||70||0||218||-18|
|Intentional bodily harm to persons 15 years of age and older||16,463||-33||65,181||-8|
|Forceful robberies without the use of weapons||3,680||-45||17,259||-13|
|Number of robberies without violence against people||32,191||-51||159,214||-13|
|Breaking and entering/burglary||10,986||-44||50,647||-14|
|Car and motorized vehicle theft||7,701||-37||32,262||-9|
|Theft from vehicles||13,379||-45||61,180||-11|
|Theft of vehicle accessories||4,415||-45||20,380||-8|
|Deliberate destruction or damage to property||29,662||-43||132,992||-11|
Crimes and offenses recorded by the police and the gendarmerie do not contain complete information about the crimes committed, because not all victims have the opportunity to file a complaint. The indicators contained in this publication provide information on trends in the recorded portion of the offenses.
In March 2020, in the exclusive context of the health crisis associated with COVID-19, the opportunity indicators of recorded crimes fell sharply compared to February 2020, despite the fact that before that there was a growth trend. The decrease is on average -45% for most indicators.
The decrease is more noticeable in the rates of robberies without violence against people (-51%), on the contrary, less significant for theft of vehicles (-37%) and for assault and intentional injuries (including domestic violence) (-33%). Murder rates appear stable in March; and they was a downward tendency
70 murder cases (including injuries and bodily harm that led to death) were recorded in March 2020. 70 cases were recorded in February, and 78 in January. As a result, the number of murders in the last quarter (218 victims) is less than in the previous quarter (265 cases).
Intentional bodily harm to persons 15 years of age and older
The number of cases of intentional bodily harm to persons 15 years of age and older (including domestic violence) is significantly reduced (-33%) in March 2020. At the same time, a slight increase in this indicator was observed in February.
Among the intentional assault of persons aged 15 years and older, the proportion of domestic violence increased significantly in March.
The number of recorded cases of sexual violence is sharply reduced (-43%) in March 2020 after a sharp increase in the previous month.
The number of recorded cases has been growing since the end of 2017 due to an increase in freedom of speech and an increase in the level of response of the police and the gendarmerie.
The number of cases reported by the police and gendarmerie dropped sharply (-43%) in March 2020 in the context of the health crisis. In February, there was a rise in this type of crime.
After the decline observed between May 2017 and May 2018, followed by a slight increase in June 2018, the number of armed robberies showed slight fluctuations. Since May 2019, there has been a slight upward trend.
Forceful robberies without the use of weapons
The number of cases recorded by the police and gendarmerie significantly decreased (-45%) in March 2020 in the context of the health crisis. In February there was a tendency of a decrease.
The number of violent robberies without weapons increased significantly between February and May 2019, and then declined in June. Since then, indicators have shown slight fluctuations.
Number of robberies without violence against people
The number of reported cases dropped sharply (-51%) in March 2020.
In February, the situation was stable, without significant fluctuations.
A growth of robberies without violence against people was observed between November 2018 and February 2019. The situation fluctuated from April to May 2019. An upward trend followed from June 2019.
Breaking and entering/Burglary
In March, the number of reported cases dropped significantly (-44%).
In February, there was also a slight downward trend.
After a surge in December 2018, the number of burglaries stabilized during the first four months of 2019, the maximum decrease was observed in August 2019. Since September, the situation has been stable with some fluctuations.
Car and motorized vehicle theft
The indicators fell significantly (-37%) in March 2020. In February, a decrease was also observed.
After the indicators stabilized from May 2019 at a lower level than in previous years, the number of vehicle thefts increased again over the last quarter of 2019.
Theft from vehicles
The number dropped sharply (-45%) in March 2020 in the context of the health crisis. In February, a slight increase was observed.
The sharp increase in car thefts in December 2018 was more than offset by the decrease recorded between April and June 2019. After July, an increasing trend started being observed.
Theft of vehicle accessories
In March, the number is significantly reduced (-45%) in the context of the health crisis, after rising in the previous month.
Following a stabilization in 2018 at a lower level than in previous years, the number of thefts of vehicle accessories had a downward tendency in the first half of 2019. Since the end of 2019 the indicators have begun rising once again.
Deliberate destruction or damage to property
The number of reported cases fell sharply (-43%) in March 2020 after a slight increase in the previous month.
After a very sharp rise in December 2018 related to the growth of social movements (yellow vests), in May 2019 a downward trend was observed. Slight fluctuations were recorded in a fairly stable situation, while at the end of 2019, indicators began to grow again.
The number of reported cases dropped significantly (-46%) in March 2020. In February, there was a slight increase.
Since mid-2018, with large fluctuations, fraud has stabilized in the first half of 2019 after a sharp growth in January with a subsequent upward trend.
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