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Crimes During the Pandemic

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It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of our daily lives. Many researchers have linked the pandemic to unusual trends in criminal activity; some crimes are increasing in frequency due to the health crisis, while others are decreasing as more people stay at home and are socially distanced from others. If you are facing any criminal charges during this turbulent time, it is important to seek legal advice from a Tacoma, WA criminal defense attorney immediately.

Types of Crimes Decreasing During COVID-19

University of Pennsylvania professor David Abrams has created a website that details crime rates during the pandemic across more than 25 major cities. According to an article in NPR profiling this project, his research shows that overall crime rates are decreasing during the pandemic.

Major cities such as Baltimore, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. have seen drops of more than 30% in their crime rates. In particular, violent crimes such as robberies and aggravated assault have dropped in many areas, falling by an average of 19.3%. Property crimes also decreased by 19.2%.

Drug crimes, such as possession and sale, have also dropped by more than 60% when compared to previous years. Since police arrests usually discover drugs instead of independent citizen reports, it is likely that this rate has dropped since police are not employing those proactive policing tactics during the pandemic.

It is possible that reporting has decreased during the pandemic, but the actual crime rate is higher than we realize. These declines may be due a decrease in reports rather than actual behavioral change due to COVID-19.

Types of Crimes Increasing During the Pandemic

When the pandemic hit the United States, more people began spending time at home instead of going to work or attending to their businesses. Since more people were at home, many cities saw a large decline in residential burglaries. However, more people at home meant less people and less security in non-residential buildings, leading to an increase in commercial burglaries. On average, cities saw a 37% spike in commercial burglaries following the pandemic onset.

Similarly, car theft increased in some cities after initiating stay-at-home orders. In Philadelphia, city officials saw car thefts occurring at a rate 2.5 times higher than they occurred pre-pandemic. Austin, Denver, and Los Angeles also saw a significant increase in motor vehicle thefts.

According to Abrams’ research, many cities did not see a decrease or increase in the number of homicides and shootings due to COVID-19 this year. In the first month of the pandemic, there was no change in this statistic. However, there has been an increase in the number of homicides in shootings in late 2020; it is unclear whether this increase is due to stay-at-home orders or another factor.

Hiring a Crime Defense Attorney to Represent Your Case

Although crime rates may be falling during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Washington residents are facing penalties for serious charges. If you are facing a criminal conviction in Washington court, you need an attorney on your side to advocate for your best interests.

After an arrest, you have two important rights: the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. At the police station, do not answer any questions until you speak to your lawyer. As soon as you are able, contact an attorney for assistance.

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