Crime in New York City is falling as the city’s response to the new coronavirus ramps up, the Wall Street Journal reports. The number of serious felonies reported by the police department dropped 16.6 percent between March 16 and March 22 compared with the same period last year. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered city schools closed on March 15. There were 1,337 serious felonies for the week that ended Sunday, compared with 1,604 in the same week one year earlier. The only significant increase in the city’s seven index crimes was in stolen vehicles, which rose 51.5 percent.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the public health crisis served as a deterrent to crime. “You see crowds disappearing on streets and other areas,” he said, adding that the NYPD has seen a decrease in 911 emergency calls throughout the city, with the exception of calls for service regarding sick patients, which have increased. The number of murders during the week fell from seven last year to one this year. Officers made 16 percent fewer arrests since the mayor closed the schools in response to the virus. The city will deploy police officers and workers from other government agencies to parks and playgrounds to enforce social distancing rules and slow the spread of coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday, the Journal reports.