COVID linked to highest number of assaults in 18 years
Attacks against police officers and domestic violence were key drivers behind a rise in assault crimes that pushed the figure to its highest level in the Gympie police division in 18 years.
Police data revealed 167 assault offences were recorded in the Gympie Division in 2020, 15 more than the 152 recorded in 2019.
It was the highest number of assaults in the region since 2002, when 174 were reported.
The biggest spike in offending happened in June; almost two dozen of the area’s assaults occurred during the winter months, despite it traditionally being the quiet end of the spectrum for criminal behaviour.
Gympie officer in charge Gregg Davey said this was typically because of the seasonal change.
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“June is one of the cooler months of the year and the cool weather normally reflects a lower crime rate,” Sen Sgt Davey said.
He said the increase in assaults on police was a result of the changes wrought by the enforced shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.
“Due to the COVID restrictions local officers were required to attend an increase in the number of disturbances within the home and this resulted in both assaults against police increasing as well as by persons known (to or) living with each other,” he said.
Sen Sgt Davey said none of the recorded offences involved a repeat offender assaulting someone they did not know.