There has been a significant increase, for the fourth consecutive year, in reports of criminal offences which had been notified to the Police authorities, with 16% fewer crimes when compared to 2019.
It results that in 2020 13,087 crimes had been reported to the Police, a drop of 2,502 when compared to 2019.
In an analysis by Home Affairs and Security Minister Byron Camilleri of criminal offences carried out last year, the Minister pointed out that whereas 2015 saw an average of 42 offences for every 1,000 persons, the number for 2020 stands at 25.4 for every 1,000.
Crimes which have seen a substantial drop include thefts – down by 31%, falsification of documents and fraud – down by 1%, damage – down by 19%, injuries to third parties – down by 16%, and sex offences – a drop of 14%.
A drop has also been registered in crimes involving violence against public officers and arson.
On the other hand, there has been a substantial increase in crimes linked to migration, prostitution, money laundering, wrong use of computers, and cases linked to drugs and domestic violence.
Computer-linked crimes have seen a 44% increase, and drug-related crimes have gone up by 6%. There has also been a 24% increase in a number of crimes linked to domestic violence, whilst threats and public violence have gone up by 20%.
Minister Camilleri stated that although there had been anticipation at the start of 2020 about how crimes could develop as a result of Covid, the strategy of having more Police presence on the streets was effective. The Minister added that Community Policing was also effective, with the project fostering a sense of security among members of the community and families.
Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà stated that the Police are equipping themselves to tackle crimes like cyber crimes, and a specialised cybercrime centre is expected to be inaugurated later this year.
The Commissioner added that the analytical component within the Corps is also being boosted, with a number of experts contributing to various sectors in a process which facilitates Police investigations. Mr Gafà pointed out that six homicides had been solved, which had not been easy, particularly when in two instances the accused had to be traced in other countries.
Crime expert Professor Saviour Formosa stated that criminal offences have always evolved, and will continue to do so according to the opportunities available to criminals. Professor Formosa added that in the coming years he anticipates offences will move towards virtual and internet crimes.