This post is by Bernie Carr,
In today’s post, we discuss what’s going on with crime amidst the coronavirus pandemic while much of the country is in some form of shelter-in-place order.
A few weeks ago, in a press briefing, Houston major Sylvester Turner asked criminals “to chill” until the coronavirus pandemic is over. He was quoted,
“Until the coronavirus is resolved, criminals take a break. Okay. Stay home. Stay home and don’t commit any crimes,” said the mayor.
“That way they stay safe and out of jail, and police officers will stay safe and go home to their families. Okay, everybody chill. Crooks, criminals, you chill.”
It turns out police departments nationwide, in tongue in cheek tweets, asked criminals the same thing- to cease their activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some major crimes have decreased
According to the Chicago Tribune, cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York have experienced a drop in major crimes such as murder, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and car theft.
This is likely because when the majority of people are staying home, there is not as much opportunity for criminals to find targets.
But some types of crime are on the rise.
Burglary is up
Large cities are reporting a significant increase in burglaries:
In Houston, burglaries are up by 20%, according to Police Chief Art Acevedo.
In New York, burglaries increased by 21.9%
Seattle reported an 87% rise in burglaries downtown.
In many cities, businesses have boarded up their store fronts to prevent break-ins.
Many areas have reported that vehicle theft has increased.
One unfortunate effect of shelter in place orders has been an increase in domestic violence.
Cyber crimes have increased
As we covered in a recent article, cyber crime and online scams have increased.
Coronavirus related crimes
Another type of crime that has increase has been racially-motivated attacks against Asian Americans.
We’ve also heard of theft of medical supplies such as masks amid shortages being experienced by medical workers.
There have also been reports of individuals purposely coughing on people and threatening to spread the coronavirus, which is considered a terroristic threat in some areas.
To answer the original question on whether crime is increasing during the coronavirus pandemic, the answer is, some crimes have increased, while other crimes have decreased. It remains to be seen what the overall crime rate will look like in a few months. One factor that may affect crime rates in the near future is the decision by many county and state officials to release non-violent and low level criminals who were at risk of catching the coronavirus from enclosed areas. Some experts are warning that crime is expected to increase even more, as people become more desperate due high unemployment from work closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. All we can do is stay vigilant and stay informed.
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