Telltale signs of indoor crime in time of lockdown - DCI Graham Grant
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, a significant portion of incidents Edinburgh CID dealt with occurred outdoors and in public spaces.
Typically, these would be reports of serious assault and other violent crime, robbery and sexual offences, often late into the evening.
As you can imagine, alcohol and substance abuse often plays a pivotal role in many of these offences. However, with licensed premises closed for large portions of the past year, and people advised to stay within their homes, there have been significantly lower numbers of such crimes taking place in the public sphere.
That is not to say that crimes of violence and sexual assault have stopped, it means however many may now be taking place behind closed doors and away from the gaze of others.
Our work becomes all the more important in these instances to protect vulnerable people from harm and bring offenders to justice and I would therefore appeal to all members of our communities to contact police immediately if you have concerns relating to potential criminal activity taking place within the home setting. Alternatively make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 as there's a key role our community can play here.
Since lockdown restrictions began easing, we have already, sadly seen a return to some of the typical crimes that take place outdoors, particularly during warm weather.
You will all have undoubtedly seen the recent disorder in The Meadows and if we take potential COVID breaches out of the equation, the inquiries for police also revolved around the violence and disorder that took place.
My officers continue to investigate these incidents, which included various people being assaulted. This takes significant level of resourcing and staffing hours and the unacceptable behaviour of a small minority of troublemakers will not be tolerated. I would like to thank the public for the positive response regarding this incident to date.
The summer months also tend to see a rise in bogus workmen offences and in the past week we’ve had reports of men aged between 25 and 40, with Middlesbrough accents, calling at doors attempting to sell goods.
Our advice is to exercise caution where you have concern, refuse whatever goods or services individuals like this are offering, do not allow them entry to your home and ask them to leave before calling police and providing all relevant details of the suspects, including what kind of vehicle they were travelling in.
Check our website for tips and advice on doorstep crime - https://www.scotland.police.uk/advice-and-information/scams-and-frauds/doorstep-crime-and-bogus-callers/
Proactive disruption activity is a vital tactic we utilise to hamper the operations of crime groups and we regularly undertake enforcement activity aimed at seizing drugs, weapons and other illicit items. Our efforts can only be successful, however, if we have the support of our communities and so if you have information about ongoing criminality in your area then please get in touch.
I want to finish off by raising awareness of an offence that is becoming more prevalent, not only in Edinburgh, but across the UK. I am referring to county lines and cuckooing, where criminals from outside this region set up shop in order to commit illegal activities, particularly the sale of drugs in our communities.
On occasions, vulnerable people often living alone will be targeted through threats and intimidation and their properties will be used as a base of operation for criminals, which can often be pretty overt and noticeable to neighbours.
If you have any concerns at all that a person or group of people are committing crimes in your community, possibly within the home of a vulnerable person, then please report the matter to police immediately.
Detective Chief Inspector Graham Grant, Edinburgh CID