The world has changed drastically as a result of COVID-19. Counties across the country have been asked to shelter in place in an effort to halt the spread of this deadly virus. As many people stay in their homes, police departments across the country are logging far fewer calls for assistance. The result is the crime and arrests have been down since shelter in place orders went into effect. This is good news for communities as a whole, particularly for court systems that are undoubtedly going to be swamped when they are given the order to reopen.
Crime Incidents Are Down
There are numerous ways in which crime across the country has dropped. First, with fewer cars on the road, police are conducting far fewer traffic and in-person stops. Some jurisdictions are reporting a drop of more than 90 percent. Furthermore, there has also been a sharp drop in the number of drug offenses and DUIs.
In addition, the frequency of theft and residential burglaries have dropped as well. Many police departments believe this is because fewer stores are open and people are remaining in their homes, making them less vulnerable to burglars. Many police departments are logging fewer assaults and robberies as well.
Even the jail numbers are down. There are nearly two dozen jails that are monitored by a single news organization. They report that their numbers are down by 25 percent since February.
Domestic Violence Is Up
Sadly, not all of the news is good news. Domestic violence calls are up. Many police agencies are reporting that calls for domestic violence are up by anywhere from 10 to 30 percent depending on the department. There have also been more calls for nuisances, such as parties.
The reality is that domestic violence is simply more common when people are asked to stay at home. Families are spending more time around each other and those in bad relationships might be more strained than usual. As people become more irritated by their significant other, fights are more likely to break out. This places vulnerable populations in harm’s way. This is reflected in the dramatic rise in police calls for domestic violence.
What Can People Do to Stay Safe?
While it is good that crime rates are down overall, it is important for people to remain wary. Domestic violence is still a major issue. First, those who are struggling with their mental health should know that telemedicine services are still available. They can see a trained mental health professional virtually. Then, everyone should know the number for the local police department in the event of an emergency. It is critical for families to work together to stay safe during the pandemic.