Is Crime Really Down Due To COVID-19?

A couple of days ago, we ran a story about how COVID-19 seems to have led to a reduction in crime. Such a claim makes a fair bit of sense. After all, many preferred targets of criminals are no longer viable. You can’t break into homes during the day anymore because everyone is at home. Many stores that would be the target of robberies are now closed.

And then there are the concerns about the virus itself.

The problem is, that reduction doesn’t seem to be universal and it’s not all crimes across the board, either.

For example, some places such as Berry Hill, Tennessee are seeing an uptick in crime.

COVID-19 has everyone locked down and practically everything shut down. Everything that is, except the crime rate in Berry Hill, a small municipality inside Davidson County.

Police Chief Tim Coleman told News 2, over the last two weeks, there has been approximately a 25 percent spike in crime from commercial break-ins, shop lifting and car break-ins.

Coleman said there is no doubt in his mind that the spike coincides with the COVID-19 emergency.

“There’s no doubt in mind the criminal element doesn’t take a day off, they don’t heed warnings, and they will take any advantage they can, and they could care less about you and your property while you are trying to maintain the safety in your life.”

No, these aren’t necessarily violent crimes, but they’re still crimes and they’re seeing more of them.

There’s no reason to believe their experiences are unique, either. Especially since a report from Canada somewhat mirrors what Chief Coleman noted.

Police in York Region are reporting a spike in a number of crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including stunt driving and domestic incidents.

Crimes related to stunt driving incidents, including driving 50 km/h over the speed limit, have increased by 60 per cent, police said in a news release Wednesday.

York Regional Police also reported that domestic incidents have increased by 22 per cent during the pandemic, which has forced many people to stay home.

Vehicle theft has increased by 44 per cent and commercial break and enters have increased by 45 per cent, police said.

“Some types of incidents have increased since changes came into effect as a result of COVID-19,” police said.

The authorities in Canada do note, however, that for them, crime is down overall. A few categories are up, sure, but many more have decreased more significantly, thus creating an overall reduction in criminal activity.

With the Canadian numbers, I’m not sure what they’re terming as “domestic incidents” exactly. It could just be loud arguments–which would make sense as people are shut up with no usual outlets and a high degree of tension already causing issues–or it could be something much worse, which is not understandable.

Regardless, though, it seems that crime may not be quite as down as we’d like to think.

The big question is, what about when this is over? A lot of people aren’t going to have jobs to go back to, even with the COVID-19 stimulus package passed by Congress. What happens when they get desperate?

Economic downturns often tend to coincide with spikes in crime, after all, which means we’re likely to see things change even more once the current emergency passes.

It’s a good thing we have so many more gun owners. That just might be enough to keep some of that in check.

Jan 19, 2022 12:30 PM ET