Police have been encouraging shoplifters to visit food banks to help reduce retail crimes in the city.
Shoplifting offences in Aberdeen have dropped 26% in August compared to the same month in 2019.
Police have revealed that they have been working with partner organisations to help people living in poverty, who are committing crimes, get the help they need.
The drop in retail crimes emerged in new stats released by the Scottish Government which also revealed fewer assaults had been committed in the city.
Chief Inspector Darren Bruce said: “Overall, we have seen a decrease in shoplifting across the city. We have been working alongside partners to encourage people towards food banks and other initiatives which assist people with food poverty.
“Certain areas have seen some retail or shop premises targeted and to address this, officers have offered support to those who require it.
“We have a number of excellent examples of joint working in our city, all of which are leading to a reduction in retail crime.”
How have crime levels changed compared to last August?
The stats show that the total number of crimes compared to the same month last year increased by 8%, an increase of 73 offences, in the city.
The highest increase was seen in housebreaking – a 141% rise compared to August last year.
And there was also a 127% rise in the number of handling offensive weapon crimes along with a 91% increase in other crimes of dishonesty.
There was a 28% drop in sexual assaults, an 84% drop in urinating offences, and an 8% drop in common assaults in Aberdeen.
Police charged 383% more people in August this year with driving under the influence in Aberdeen, while there was also a 159% rise in vehicle defect offences, and 58% more seat belt offences.
North-east divisional commander Chief Superintendent George Macdonald said the decrease in violent and acquisitive crime was welcomed but added that the report covered a relatively short period of an “extraordinary time”.
He warned that care must be taken to avoid assumptions around crime trends because of this.
He said: “Certain aspects and demands on policing may have changed over the past few months, however, the priorities of North East Division have certainly not – our officers, staff and Special Constables will continue to help keep our communities safe, protect the most vulnerable people and play our part in supporting communities through this challenging time.”
300% increase in emergency food parcels
Staff at CFINE, which helps struggling residents get access to food, said more people were using its services.
Lisa Duthie, CFINE Chief Executive, said: “In response to coronavirus, we made adjustments to how we support people and transformed our food bank into a contactless food delivery service.
“During this time, we have experienced a 300% increase in the uptake of emergency food parcels.
“Food insecurity has risen significantly in the city, caused by many contributing factors including increasing job losses, reduced income, more mouths to feed as people are staying at home as well as isolation factors.
“We are working on developing initiatives that will ensure continued support post-pandemic. We are planning to soon launch new services that will meet the needs of our beneficiaries, whilst helping them move away from reliance on emergency food parcels.”