Crime rates drop across the nation amid coronavirus

Crime rates drop across the nation amid coronavirus
© JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Crime rates in major cities across the country are dropping amid the coronavirus crisis as people stay in their homes to try to blunt the spread of the pandemic.

Police figures from across the country showed a nosedive in major crimes as authorities also report fewer arrests for small-time crime.

The New York Police Department said Thursday that crime across all five of the city’s boroughs and within the transit system and public housing fell by nearly 20 percent from March 12-31. In the second half of last month, murder decreased by 25 percent, robberies fell by 10 percent and grand larcenies dropped by 37 percent. 

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The drop appeared to coincide with the declaration of a state of emergency in the city — prior to the declaration, crime had increased by nearly 28 percent in the first half of the month.

Los Angeles saw similarly stark drops in crime, with violent offenses falling over 11 percent in March compared to February, according to statistics released by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Homicide in California’s biggest city fell by almost 43 percent, while rape dropped by about 37 percent and robbery declined by 14 percent. Those downward trends also appeared dovetail with an order from Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) shuttering nonessential businesses and mandating people stay home.

And violent crime in Chicago, Atlanta and Denver all also dropped last month compared to statistics from March 2019.

Officials have said that they do not have definitive proof that the drops in crime rates are directly correlated to the COVID-19 outbreak, but noted that they coincided with orders to stay indoors.

“We can’t specifically say that the crime rate is affected by coronavirus,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said at a March 25 news conference. “But obviously what we know going back many, many years and looking at data is that when large congregations of people are outside in neighborhoods where gun violence is prevalent, that increases the risk.”

“Suspects for the most part are opportunists and they are looking at those locations, looking for that activity and looking for that victim,” LAPD Assistant Chief Robert Arcos also noted to the Los Angeles Times. “When you remove those things from that equation, it’s not surprising to start to see these types of decreases.”