Making Sense of Coronavirus Crime Rates

If you Google “coronavirus crime,” the first results you see indicate that crime rates are plummeting. But then, if you Google “coronavirus commercial crime,” you get a very different story.
Smashed door break in

If you Google “coronavirus crime,” the first results you see indicate that crime rates are plummeting in this age of social separation and business shut-downs.

But then, if you Google “coronavirus commercial crime,” you get a very different story: commercial crime rates are spiking. Seattle, for example, has reported an 87% increase in commercial burglaries.

Deserted Street

So, which are we to believe? Both – and here’s why:

There are a number of factors explaining why there would be reports of crime plummeting, including:

With most of the population staying home, residential burglaries and street crimes have, indeed, fallen in most areas.

Police officers are at substantial risk of COVID-19 infection (as of this writing, approximately 20% of the New York City Police Department is out sick), which has caused many police departments to implement their own social distancing protections. A core part of this is limiting physical response to only the most urgent matters; lower-level crimes (trespassing, vandalism, petty theft) are not subject to the same level of law enforcement as would be the case during normal times, thus reducing the number of arrests and reported crimes.

Many police departments have also altered their rotations so officers work fewer but longer shifts (in some cases, 24 hours). While this reduces the amount of physical interaction between department personnel, it also increases the likelihood that officers will be fatigued and less vigilant at the end of their shifts.

Given these factors, it’s not surprising that many areas are reporting drops in overall crime rates. However, criminals know where the soft targets are – and it’s not residences, it’s businesses. They know that most commercial operations have nobody on site to deter crimes, and that many police departments are not pursuing low-level transgressions the way they normally would.

Camera watching auto dealership car lot

That’s where Pro-Vigil can help. Our remote video monitoring is like having a team of virtual security guards protecting your business.  Let us stand guard when you can’t. Talk to us to see how we can secure your business. 

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