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Is Coronavirus Taking a Bite Out of Crime?

Posted March 25, 2020

In this time of social uncertainty due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, could a drop in crime be a silver lining?

Police from around the country – from Vermont to Indiana to California – are saying that crime rates are declining. Officers in Maine, already with one of the lowest crime rates in the country, say that they’re getting called into much fewer disputes because people are spending less time together in public settings. “We are seeing fewer arguments that can lead to physical confrontations between individuals who are not seeing eye to eye,” says Lt. Tim Cotton.

Even in New York, America’s hardest hit city, crime is dropping. The New York Daily News reports that crime dropped 25% in the five boroughs during the coronavirus shutdown last week — with just one person murdered compared to eight the week before, authorities said. The crime drop was expected, police sources said, given the streets were almost empty as New York City ground to a near halt.

Here in the Atlanta area, local police departments told Reporter Newspapers that they’re receiving fewer calls for service during the coronavirus pandemic, and police incident report databases in Atlanta, Brookhaven and Dunwoody, and self-reporting Sandy Springs show lower numbers of various street crimes and arrests during the start of the pandemic over the same period in the previous year.

Police Tactics Focus Less on Low-Level Crimes

All of the departments say that they are looking at ways to enforce the law while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19, including adopting tactics to reduce potentially contagious contact and the optional release with a citation for low-level arrestees. “Our officers have been encouraged to write citations or copies of charges on most non-violent crimes when possible – most importantly, when there is no danger to the public – so that we can work together to keep jail employees and inmates healthy,” says Carlos Campos, spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department. “We continue to enforce the law and make physical arrests when necessary.”

Could Certain Crimes Spike?

Some worry that the more people are isolated and confined, the likelier certain crimes could increase, especially when stress levels are high.

Meagan Cahill, a researcher at the RAND corporation, told The Anniston Star that, while crimes of opportunity like pickpocketing and robbery may decrease with more people staying inside their homes, crimes like domestic violence or child abuse could increase. “If people have been spending more time in the house, that could lead to more tension, which could lead to more aggression and violence,” she told the newspaper. A recent homicide in the Anniston, AL, area was the result of domestic violence that had been going on behind closed doors.

Jail or Prison is Not Where You Want to Be Right Now

It’s no secret that jail or prison isn’t an ideal place to be under any circumstances but in today’s environment, it can be deadly. People are in close, confined quarters with little access to hygienic supplies, and corrections officials lack the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from inmates. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the coronavirus at a state prison after previously being locked up at New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex, which has had a spate of coronavirus cases, according to ABC News.

These are uncertain times indeed, and A 2nd Chance Bail Bonds wants everyone to stay safe and out of trouble. If you or a loved one find yourself behind bars, let us help you get out as quickly as possible. Our team is here 24/7 whenever you need us and can process bail bonds electronically, if needed.

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