Theft and burglary were the topmost crimes committed in about 2,770 communities across the country, in May and June, this year, a survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has revealed.
This was followed by domestic violence and assault, in communities which shared borders with other countries, lockdown areas, and communities which had neither lockdown nor shared borders with other localities.
These came to light yesterday when the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, briefed journalists about the survey, which focused on the impact of the COVID-19 on local communities.
It was conducted through its Local Economies Tracker, which spanned over the months of May and June, 2020.
Prof Annim stated that, while, there was a general increase in criminal activities by 34.1 per cent, localities in lockdown areas had the highest increase in crime rate, recording 47.1 per cent of all the crimes committed with the period under consideration.
According to Prof Annim, the COVID-19, with its attendant lockdown and restrictions, also led to the reduction in business, production and sales, particularly, in Greater Kumasi, Greater Accra, and Awutu Senya East.
He said that, “As a result of the lockdown restrictions in March 2020 by the government in Greater Kumasi, and Greater Accra, including the Awutu Senya East, most businesses saw reductions in production (71.7 per cent), sales (89.7 percent), and labour supply (36.0 per cent).”
Prof Annim said that there was also an increase in the cost of credit, which witnessed a 25.9 per cent increase, under the period of consideration.
Similarly, the prices of products within the lockdown period observed shot up in all localities across the country, with food and non-alcoholic beverages recording the highest price rise.
Generally, transport cost, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and narcotics equally observed increment, although, prices of transport in lockdown districts saw a reduction, compared to border and other communities.
Prof Annim explained that, the reduction was, possibly due to the restrictions on movements in such districts, while, border districts recorded higher prices in food and alcoholic beverages, compared to lockdown and other regions.
He also said, majority of the individuals in lockdown communities received support from various individuals, including Members of Parliament, as well as government and non-state institutions.
Prof Annim indicated that cooked and uncooked food, and veronica bucket were the most items provided as mitigating measures against the COVID-19.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and water were also provided to individuals, especially, those in lockdown areas, while, cash was the least item provided to lessen the burden of the disease on the people.
Prof Annim noted that, more than half of the localities (55.1 per cent) had structures which helped in recovering from the shock of the COVID-19, although, relatively, lockdown areas had less resilience to shock, compared to other districts.
The GSS has recommended that government should formalise and integrate local communities and lend credence to their role in national development.
BY FRANCIS NTOW