Theft from vehicles rises but overall crime falls in Purbeck

Latest figures reveal a sharp increase in theft from vehicles last year across Purbeck including Swanage but Dorset Police say they’ve now got it under control.

Crime figures for Purbeck show that between Thursday 1st October 2020 and Thursday 30th September 2021 reports of thefts from vehicles rose to 150, from 103 the previous year, a 46 percent increase. Police blame the end of Covid lockdowns for the surge.


It comes with the news that overall crime in the area fell by 4 percent from 2,240 reported incidents to 2,158 during the same period.

Purbeck South policing team

Members of the Purbeck South Police team in Swanage

“Linked to the release of the Covid lockdown”

Inspector Ged Want, Dorset Police, said:

“Where we have seen a spike in theft from vehicles, I can say with some assurance that this follows a similar crime trend across the country, where we experienced an increase in acquisitive crime linked to the release of the Covid lockdown.

“Since June 2021, the theft from vehicle crime type has reduced significantly to very low reports.”

Purbeck crime figures

Purbeck is defined as the Purbeck North and Purbeck South policing areas and broadly mirrors the old Purbeck District Council area which includes Swanage.

1st Oct 2019 to 30th Sept 2020 number of incidents

  • Burglary other 64
  • Criminal damage 325
  • Drug offences 32
  • Dwelling burglary 78
  • Possession of weapons 12
  • Public order 158
  • Robbery 8
  • Sexual offences 108
  • Theft 372
  • Theft from motor vehicle 103
  • Theft of motor vehicle 40
  • Violence against the person 892

1st Oct 2020 to 30th Sept 2021 number of incidents

  • Burglary other 46 (Down 28 percent)
  • Criminal damage 307 (Down 6 percent)
  • Drug offences 29 (Down 9 percent)
  • Dwelling burglary 79 (Up 1 percent)
  • Possession of weapons 6 (Down 50 percent)
  • Public order 157 (Down 1 percent)
  • Robbery 5 (Down 38 percent)
  • Sexual offences 99 (Down 8 percent)
  • Theft 348 (Down 6 percent)
  • Theft from motor vehicle 150 (Up 46 percent)
  • Theft of motor vehicle 24 (Down 40 percent)
  • Violence against the person 861 (Down 3 percent)
Dorset Police images 2021 Picture by Finnbarr Webster/Dorset Police
Finnbarr Webster/Dorset Police

While theft from cars and other vehicles rose by 46 percent, burglaries fell by 12 percent overall

“Promising results”

In the same period, during a year that saw extended lockdowns, burglary fell by 12 percent overall, a slight increase in home burglaries, up 1 percent (from 78 to 79), but with other burglaries down 28 percent (from 64 to 46).

Inspector Want said:

“During the summer demand period, joint efforts from partner agencies as part of the multi-agency command centre have gone a long way to achieving these promising results.

“The ongoing work from neighbourhood policing teams tackling the crime and anti-social behaviour that most affects the communities is also why crime levels have reduced somewhat.”

Purbeck Police Swanage
Purbeck Police

Purbeck Police on patrol in Swanage

Criminal damage, violent attacks down

Criminal damage reports were down 6 percent, drug offences were down 9 percent. Public order offences were roughly the same at 157, compared with 158 the previous year. Violent attacks were down 3 percent, from 892 to 861 and sexual offences down 8 percent, from 108 to 99.

Dorset Police images 2021 Picture by Finnbarr Webster/Dorset Police
Finnbarr Webster/Dorset Police

Crime in Purbeck fell by 4 percent

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