Coronavirus Crime Rates in the United States
Historically, times of crisis led to an increase in crime rates, and many expected that COVID-19 will lead to the same trend. However, Coronavirus has had an interesting effect on crime rates in the United States; the global pandemic has led to a drop in crime rates in several large cities across the country. The surprising decrease in crime rates is part of the overall mixed trend of crime trends in the U.S., and here is what has happened in the past 6 months since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Coronavirus Property Crime Rates in the United States
David Abrams, professor of law, business economics, and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania, has collected data about crime incidents from 25 U.S. cities since the beginning of COVID-19 and has stated that “Across almost all of the cities examined, crime fell a tremendous amount — to overall levels over 23% below the average of the same time period in the previous 5 years,”. However, there has been an increase in property thefts in several cities; while private property crimes have decreased, commercial buildings and businesses have been prime targets for burglars.
During the Coronavirus lockdown, many business owners have had to go on hiatus, leaving their businesses empty and vulnerable to break-ins. As a result, people have been breaking into businesses in larger numbers compared to the previous 5 years.
Home burglaries have decreased since March 2020 for the simple reason that people are staying home and not leaving it empty for burglars. According to Abrams, "People have reacted to the pandemic in all sorts of ways in decreasing economic activity. They stopped going to work, they stopped driving their car. They stopped walking around the city, and crime also stopped" he said to NPR.
Overall, there has been a 19% drop in property crimes in the country.
Coronavirus Drug Crime Rates in the United States
Abrams has also researched crime trends in 25 major cities in the country and found that there were 63% less drug-related crimes compared to previous years. It could be the result of global drug cartels facing a break in their chain of supply, making it difficult to paddle drugs to overseas customers.
Coronavirus Violent Crime Rates in the United States
Overall, the violent crime in the cities that Abrams has studied decreased by 15%. However, homicides and gun shootings have not changed since the beginning of the pandemic. According to a USA Today report, there has been a significant increase of 10%-30% in domestic disturbances and violence.
Stay-at-home orders and less police activity are part of the reasons for the significant rise in domestic violence. Increased unemployment rates and in-house pressures have also been linked to the rise of violent crime rates in the country.
Arrests Decrease with Coronavirus Outbreak
According to USA Today, new bookings decreased by 47% compared to the weeks prior to the Coronavirus outbreak in March 2020 (at 23 county jails monitored by the USA TODAY Network).
Calls for service to the police have dropped by at least 12%, and county jail bookings after the second half of March fell by 50%. Still, cases of domestic violence and calls of disturbance have seen a spike since March 2020. It is expected for this trend to last during the lockdown and its resulting pressure on families.
COVID-19 is here to stay until a vaccine is found, so people will have to settle into a new routine. Overall, crime rates in the U.S. have decreased as a result of people staying at home and not being able to go outside and commit crimes. The exception is domestic violence, which has seen a significant increase since March 2020. The full impact of Coronavirus on crime rates remains to be seen, and once the dust settles, we will be able to see how the pandemic has affected the crime rates in the U.S.