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Crime During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 952

Essay

Question Lead

Does the slowed down activity in some police stations due to the covid-19 pandemic reflect a drop in crime commissions? In Anniston, there was a fatal stabbing on 20th March after a quiet past few days.

The lockdown measures implemented, especially in major cities such as New York City (NYC) and Chicago, mean that there are fewer people outside, and this includes the criminals. The opportunities for crime are also minimized because the targets of violent crimes such as robbery, rape, and murder, etc. are less exposed within the confines of their homes (Kortright, n.p; Weichselbaum and Li n.p). However, these atrocities could continue to occur, especially where they are hate-motivated. Some street crimes such as pickpocketing require people to be outside, and the stay-at-home orders issued in over twenty states have undermined this activity. Petty crimes, on the other hand, may have spiked because the police service would not prioritize dispensing its services in the form of arrests for the same, preferring instead to deal with more serious offenses. Domestic crimes are on the rise, and they often go unreported. Detainment is a primary source of records on crime incidences, and the drop in recorded arrests could lead to a false belief that the overall crime rates have reduced.

The following graph by Weichselbaum and Li of the Marshall Project (n.p.) illustrates the trend in crime rates spanning a month in four major cities. Meagan Cahill, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, posits that reports about how the pandemic has affected an area’s crime rates are conclusive after a month of observation from the first reported covid-19 case (Kortright, n.p.). People are also worried about violent crimes at the same rate as they are about healthcare in light of the pandemic (Crime in America admin n.p.).

*Insert Image*

NYC is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and people are forced to shelter in their places of residence. In the week ending March 22, there was a 24% drop in major crimes and a 30% drop in shootings (Weichselbaum and Li n.p.). The New York Police Department reported a 20% drop in crime across all five of the city’s boroughs and within the transit system and public housing from March 12-31(Axelrod n.p.). However, car theft incidences went up by 50% (Deese n.p.)

Car Theft

An interview with *a police officer* to discuss the rise of car theft cases despite an overall drop in crime in the city revealed some weaknesses that are creeping in on the force. First, the officers have to protect themselves from the virus, and arresting offenders means coming in close contact with them. This association goes against the social distancing recommendation that requires people to stay at least six feet apart. “When I find someone on the streets breaking the law, especially if it is a petty crime, I’d much rather dismiss them to go home,” he said. “I don’t know their infection status, and I wouldn’t risk my health or anyone else’s at the station if the offense is not that grave.”

Secondly, there is a significant drop in the number of cops on active duty due to infections. Deese (n.p.) revealed that 8.9% of officers were calling in sick, which is three times the usual rate. The reduced manpower means that the force cannot efficiently cover all grounds. Criminals take advantage of the limited coverage to steal cars from “blind spots.” Finally, the practice among Chicago of reducing traffic and pedestrian stops to mitigate the risk of spreading the illness could account for the easy escape by the criminals (Weichselbaum and Li, n.p.). Such regulations reduce the detection rate of stolen vehicles. Mr. Dwayne, a car owner, residing in Manhattan, reported his car missing on Wednesday, 18th March. After filing his case with the police and Department of Motor Vehicles, the car was found to have been effortlessly taken out of the city, even bypassing some officers. The case is still under investigation, but Dwayne remains a victim of the third factor.

Businesses’ Safety

Business owners, aside from bearing the burden of reduced trade volumes or ultimate shutdown, are also worried about the safety of their premises despite there being fewer people on the streets. Miss Lowell, a Queens’s resident, owns a jewelry shop in a mall. She is fortunate to have insurance coverage for her business and can have some peace of mind despite the lockdown. Property protection is also a priority for the police service as thieves break into unmanned stores. Mr. Tomlin has installed CCTV cameras inside his electronics store, which is along a shopping strip. He sees the heavy police patrols around the trade center, and that puts his mind at ease. Restaurant owners are most at ease as their premises have lower chances of being robbed. Mrs. Dunn, who owns an establishment in Brooklyn, said of invaders, “Well, they would have to be many, pretty strong and fast to get away with the furniture or bulky cooking appliances. The only light things are the crockery, which are not very valuable. I think my restaurant is not that lucrative to criminals.”

These sentiments among business owners, NYC residents, and the police may change as the disease progresses. However, with inspiring recovery rates, normalcy may be restored, and some strategies on crime reduction drafted from this experience.

Works Cited

Axelrod, Tal.  “Crime rates drop across the nation amid coronavirus.” The Hill. 2020. https://www.crimeinamerica.net/violent-crime-beats-coronavirus-as-the-number-one-issue/

Crime in America admin. “Violent Crime Beats Coronavirus as the Number One Issue.” 2020 https://www.crimeinamerica.net/violent-crime-beats-coronavirus-as-the-number-one-issue/

Deese, Kaelan. “Police making fewer small-time crime arrests amid coronavirus pandemic.” The Hill. 2020. https://www.crimeinamerica.net/violent-crime-beats-coronavirus-as-the-number-one-issue/

Kortright, Mia. “Some crimes may decline, others spike during virus crisis.” The Aniston Star. 2020. https://www.crimeinamerica.net/violent-crime-beats-coronavirus-as-the-number-one-issue/

Weichselbaum Simone, and Li Weihua. “As Coronavirus Surges, Crime Declines in Some Cities.” The Marshall Project. 2020. https://www.crimeinamerica.net/violent-crime-beats-coronavirus-as-the-number-one-issue/

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