THERE were 799 fewer crimes recorded in Fife between April and December last year compared to 2019.

A total of 21,422 offences were committed – a 3.6 per cent drop – while police dealt with a total of 82,870 incidents, which was 6,295 less than the previous year.

There was a 7.3 per cent increase in overall violent crime. There were three fewer murders and three fewer attempted murders, however, there were 12 more robberies – an increase of 25.5 per cent – and 194 more common assaults.

Overall, dishonesty thefts were down by 8.4 per cent while there were 30 per cent fewer house break-ins.

There were three fewer road traffic casualties and the number of detections for drugs supply, drugs production and drugs cultivation was the same at 129.

The number of sexual crimes went up by 0.7 per cent with six more taking place, however, the detection rate for these offences increased to 73.2 per cent from 65.1 per cent.

There were five fewer hate crimes – a total of 299 – in the reporting period compared to the previous year.

Outlining the figures at Fife Council’s environment and protective services sub- committee meeting, Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan said some of the “particularly violent crimes” had dropped in number slightly.

“Robbery has increased significantly,” he added. “We do think that robbery is a crime that has been sadly impacted by the pandemic.

“Some traditional crimes and offences which individuals tend to commit to fund some kind of addiction they may have, it has been difficult for them.

“We have seen an increase in robberies. A lot of these seem to be drug-chaotic lifestyles and are victims from a robbery from another individual experiencing that kind of lifestyle.

“The increase in robberies is mitigated by a significant reduction in both thefts by shoplifting and domestic housebreakings which can be directly attributed to the COVID pandemic.

“Shops have been closed and more people have been home.”

Chief Superintendent McEwan told councillors the number of disorder instances had seen an increase of more than 7,000 to 21,921.

“The same period the year before was 15,125 so there is a 6,700 increase in cases of anti-social behaviour,” he explained.

“The number of COVID-linked complaints accounts for 7,500 incidents – so the increase is significantly impacted by COVID.

“We cannot differentiate how many of these incidents would have been recorded. There are 7,500 COVID-linked ones where maybe someone has said, ‘My neighbour is having people round when they should not have done’.

“Demand was found to peak in April and May 2020 and has again recently shown a marked increase (January 2021), following the implementation of tighter government restrictions.”