Detroit has a reputation for being one of the roughest cities in America. It’s fairly depressed economically with high poverty and high crime. Parts of the city are abandoned and much of it looks like a dystopian nightmare.
Yet, it seems that out of the darkness of COVID-19, there is some good news.
Local 4 Defenders are taking a close look at crime in Detroit neighborhoods before and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak hit the city.
Before the pandemic reached Michigan, Detroit violent crime was up 13% compared to last year. Now, violent crime is still up 5% from last year — but down a considerable amount from a few weeks ago, when COVID-19 took over the city.
Detroit police tells Local 4 Defenders that they see about 590 violent and property crimes each week. Since mid-March when the COVID-19 outbreak intensified, however, that number has decreased by about 20% to around 480 crimes each week.
Fantastic news, but not surprising, right?
Well, not overly surprising, but it also doesn’t really mean anything.
Violent crime in Chicago isn’t exactly down. While the two cities aren’t exactly twins, it does suggest that maybe this is a bit more complicated than we’d like to make it.
Then again, crime usually is.
While crime being down due to COVID-19 makes some degree of sense, it also suggests that the very people who normally ignore rules and regulations as their usual course are now suddenly complying with them. That strains the imagination something fierce.
More likely, variations in how the rules are worded and how people are complying are compounded with how easy it is for a criminal to disappear on the streets and many other potential factors all contribute to complicate an already complicated problem.
Further, we can’t be 100 percent certain that the slow-down in Detriot and other places is because of COVID-19. We’re pretty sure, of course, but we can’t be certain.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that while crime statistics show it’s down, it’s not gone. People are still being victimized and will keep being victimized, unfortunately. Worse, they’re being victimized at a time when they already feel powerless. That makes the potential impact worse for them.
So, the long and the short of is it, as usual, no one really knows anything and you still need to watch yourself. The police have a lot more to worry about than trying to protect you, which they can’t do anyway. It’s on you to look out for yourself as uncertain times become even more uncertain.
For all the platitudes about how we’re all in this together, we’re not. We’re each going through this either alone or with our families. More to the point, though, the criminals have always been out for themselves. This virus didn’t change that. No virus will.
While crime statistics may suggest fewer violent crimes, don’t let yourself get lulled into believing all is safe except for the virus. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the bad guys probably wouldn’t mind you believing otherwise.