Street Crime Down in Many Cities During Pandemic

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Fewer people in Washington, D.C., are being robbed, but more are being assaulted as law-abiding citizens and criminals alike adjust to empty streets, closed shops and altered routines that are throwing established crime patterns into disarray, reports the Washington Post. Property crime is down 27 percent, though some neighborhoods are seeing surges in break-ins targeting parked vehicles. The number of robberies has plummeted by more than a third. Violent crime has gone down 16 percent since early March, when residents began self-isolating. Yet assaults, including shootings, are up. The number of homicides is keeping pace with 2019, which ended with a decade-high. “I think that for our most violent offenders, this pandemic has not changed their behavior at all,” said Police Chief Peter Newsham.

D.C. trends mirror other cities, which recorded drops in property crime while violent crime remained flat. In 15 cities, including Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago, statistics showed de­creases in reported crime as coronavirus ­cases began to surge and residents were asked to work from home. Baltimore had a spike in deadly violence at the end of March but also has seen a drop in property crime. In Detroit, there have been 67 homicides this year, a 68 percent increase over this time last year, and 173 nonfatal shootings, up 37 percent, reports the Detroit News.“If you want to reduce crime in the street, you take away the street,” said criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University. “That’s essentially what is happening.” See also: Will Virus-Related Crime Decline Continue?

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