When we talk about cities trying to get a handle on the surging violence, we tend to focus on places like New York and Chicago. After all, those are major cities with a massive media presence in them. It’s easy for the entire world to see the violence there.
Yet the surge in violence isn’t isolated to these major metropolitan areas by any stretch of the imagination. It’s happening damn near everywhere.
For example, the mayor of Durham, NC is trying to figure the situation out as well.
He said shootings are on the rise in Durham and that the city has had “a very bad summer in terms of gun violence. It’s been much worse than the summer before, and the summer before that.”
He added that gangs were responsible for at least some of the shootings and that the bail system is failing Durham by allowing violent criminals to get out of jail.
“I wonder if some of it is COVID-related,” said Schewel. “The sense that people have less resources and they’re resorting to, you know, drug sales and that kind of thing.”
Schewel said that on a local level, leaders are doing what they can to address root causes of violence by focusing on affordable housing and job creation.
“It’s really hard for me to figure out what has caused this spike this summer. It’s not just me. I think we’re all struggling trying to figure that out,” he said. “I know our police are as well. The only obvious thing that’s different is COVID.”
Frankly, Schewel isn’t wrong.
Oh, we all have ideas–calls for defunding the police haven’t helped, I’m sure, but are they really a cause? I think so, but I can’t prove it–but none of us know for certain. Everything is too new for there to have been any real study to try and understand it.
Schewel, though, gets some credit. Unlike some places, he’s not out there blaming guns for the problem. As he noted, much of it is gang related, which is a problem that gun control has never solved. The bail system may well be playing a role in violence in Durham and elsewhere, though I doubt it’s all of it. Further, criminals released due to COVID fears probably hasn’t helped matters.
In fact, though, COVID is the big difference between this year and previous years…well, that and the anti-police sentiment.
However, due to COVID, walking around in a mask isn’t suspicious anymore. Now, it’s considered socially responsible. That means criminals are likely to feel more emboldened to open fire and walk away without fear of being identified. After all, they’re wearing a mask. No one can see their face. For criminals, mask requirements may well be something of a boon.
Still, it’s important to remember that violence isn’t constrained to the big cities. It seems to be popping up in communities of various sizes, even those that have seen no riots. It’s hitting everywhere, and that’s a big problem.