Words by Adam Smith
Hate crimes in Erdington have increased by 49% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inspector Haroon Chughtai revealed 130 more people were victims of hate crimes between April and December, compared with the same period last year.
In his December email to Erdington locals, Inspector Chughtai said: “Around hate crime, there has been an increase of 49% which is around 130 extra victims of crime.
“There are no clear patterns or highly concentrated geographies – rather it is a real mixture of neighbour disputes, road rage incidents, abuse of retail staff and police officers.”
He added: “Hate crime is deplorable and something I will talk about in more detail in future messages.”
Hate crimes are those incidents in which the victims feel their race, sexuality, disability, or religion were the motivating factor for the preparators.
Inspector Chughtai has previously outlined the sharp increase of domestic abuse and violecne as relationships were put under extra strain due to lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions. As the year draws to a close, the shocking amount of victims of domestic abuse in Erdington proves another the human cost of Covid.
He said: “Domestic abuse has seen the most significant increase this year, around 45% – which is an extra 600 victims of crime and equates for just under one quarter of all the crime in Erdington.”
There has been a 17% increase in overall crime which equates to 1,400 more victims of crime in the area compared to last year.
However, 2020 will be remembered for how the pandemic affected everyone and how police officers have had new challenges to face.
Inspector Chughtai said: “2020 has been a year I guess none of us will ever forget or truly get over, we have all had our lives changed and suffered in different ways and like all major events it has brought both the best and worst out in people.
“When I think of the best, I draw out people like the Erdington Task Force who have been extraordinary in how they have stepped up, the Stockland Green Action Group who have come together and in a short space of time played a big part in holding us and our partners to account and making the community safer.
“Places of worship who have stepped up and started food banks and other services to support their congregations and the wider community to get through this.”
Erdington’s top cop had a further message for offenders who have used the coronavirus lockdowns as cover for their violence and bullying.
He said: ”For me, the worst is the perpetrators of domestic abuse – who have taken advantage of the restrictions and made life unbearable for their victims, we will continue to everything to bring them to justice.”
If you believe you are a victim of domestic abuse or violence, call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 – for help online, visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk or www.refuge.org.uk
To make an anonymous report about any crime, effecting yourself or others, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org
To receive updates from the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in your area, visit www.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk
To find out more about Erdington’s police force, visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/2710
For a list of support services, as compiled by members of the Erdington Task Force, visit www.erdingtonlocal.com/covid-19-local-support