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No time for crime, as global crime rates drop

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

With the majority of the world in lockdown, forced to stay indoors, we’re seeing consistent changes to our status quo. Crime is no exception to that change, with global crime rates decreasing.

Some statistics for those of us who love a bit of data:

In Peru, crime levels dropped by as much as 84%

Los Angeles, down by up to 30%

The UK, a crime decrease which varies but was is as high as 20%

In South Africa, reported rape cases dropped from 700 to 101 cases a month, murder cases from 326 to 94.

Chicago saw drug arrests plummet in a decrease of 42%, with the overall crime rate in Chicago declining by just over 10%. As a comparison, back in the 90’s when New York City experienced a record turnaround with its decrease in crime, that decrease was by 40%. This reduction by 42% has occurred in just a matter of weeks, which makes it even more seismic.

A key impact of coronavirus is the decrease in drug related charges and activity as dealers simply can’t move. Criminal lawyers state they have no choice but to wait out the economic slump. The same goes for robberies, put simply: “Most burglars, they wait for you to leave the house.”

Similarly, The Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham, UK, stated that many people rely on shoplifting to fund their drug habit – that’s now far more difficult with many shops closed and fewer people in stores. This can then lead to inability to purchase drugs and a flow on effect from there.

However, it’s not as black and white as ‘all crime has decreased’ rather, the overall felony charges have decreased and many ‘petty crimes’ cease to occur whilst crimes such as domestic violence in some parts of the world have increased. In Queensland, police reported concerns following a 5.6% drop in reported domestic violence claims. Their concern stems from the implication that there are now even greater barriers to prevent domestic violence from being reported. This concern also coincides with a spiked increase of 75% for domestic violence help searches reported by Google.

Whilst we may not return to ‘normal’ life as we once knew it, there will be a time where lockdown is over and that is what worries officials. Law enforcement officials in America and across Latin America report concern that a surge in unreported domestic violence cases may increase or lead to further homicide cases. Economic suffering and crime are often found together so time can only tell the longterm impact.

Kitch Catterall


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