Why Has the Crime Rate Declined Amid the Pandemic?

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have brought massive changes worldwide. During the first few weeks of the spread, the world experienced a shift in social interaction and economic activity. For few months, almost half of the global population was under strict lockdown. In the following months, countries enforced a broad spectrum of restrictions to adjust to the threat. The implemented regulations also affected the crime rate by the drop of minor offenses committed in peer groups. 

The pandemic has impacted the rate of crime and brought it down significantly. Illicit activities like organized crime, illegal markets, smuggling, human and drug trafficking, slavery, burglaries, and robberies have declined. The policy brief in 2020 stated that while the long-term effects remain unknown, it has caused a decrease in organized crime. 

Role of Law Enforcement

Law is an organized system designed to accurate wrongdoings and balance social injustice. Prudent and dedicated criminal lawyers investigate and gather data to make the case more robust. As 2020 gave us the global pandemic lockdown, it created a very drastically changing world scenario. 

Law enforcement agencies reported that amidst the crisis, Chicago, one of the most violent cities, saw a decline of 10% in the crime rate. Rape cases in South Africa saw a fall to 101 from 700. Similarly, assault cases, murders, and other criminal activities experienced a decline too. Law enforcement agencies supported by government policies and the criminal justice system tried to maintain the potential reduction. Another benefit of such policies arose from the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a decrease in drug dealing and smuggling due to a slump in the economy. Reports stated that drug dealers do not have the means to move, and hence their supply/dealing has come to a halt. 

Junior and senior-level lawyers with an online pre law degree have reported that very few crimes happened even in the most violent war zones. Still, law enforcement agencies worry about the surge of unreported crime that may occur once the lockdown lifts or goes on for too long. Policing has also suffered due to Covid-19 as many officials have caught the disease. NYPD, considered one of the largest police departments in the US, out of 36,000 officers, faced 2,000 reports of illness and more than 7,000 fatalities. It has created a rift on capable law enforcers, making the criminals bold enough to rise again. The police forces around the world have countered such voids by issuing citations instead of low-level arrests. Such action also helped bring the crime rate down. 

Crime Rate during the Pandemic

  • Street Crime

As the law enforcement agencies reported, since 2020, there was a decrease in street crime incidents. Police forces have intentionally arrested very few offenders to prevent the spread in jails. It has taken the issue to raise alternative ways to handle crime rather than making physical arrests. Since lockdown, Associated Press reported that drug-related arrests declined to 42% compared to the same month in 2019. Following the increase of restrictions throughout the world, there are very few people on the streets, decreasing crime significantly. With the larger population staying indoors, thefts and residential burglaries have seen a massive decrease. 

  • Frauds and Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting and fraud-related reports also surfaced during the pandemic. Reports came for fake N95 masks and other counterfeit surgical instruments smuggled across borders. Law enforcement agencies worked tirelessly during these times to ensure that such activities do not resurface. Joint operations worldwide and other intelligence coalitions investigated and seized shipments of fraudulent and mislabeled Covid-19 related items. 

  • Harassment, Violence, and Murders

Across the world, killings are down, and reports of harassment from gangsters have declined. Most of the gangsters and street criminals fear catching the virus and have limited their activities. El Salvador’s city has reported two killings a month from their average of 600 a day a few years back. Similarly, cities around the world reported fewer domestic violence and murder cases amid the pandemic.

Other Topline Crime Reduction Reports

Many potential criminals have paid heed to the warnings issued by police and the government about staying indoors. With people remaining at home and businesses shut down, a drop likely happened due to lack of opportunities.

  • Since the implementation of lockdown, Chicago reported a 42% decrease in drug-related arrests, while in Los Angeles, crime plummeted by 30%.
  • New York City reported a decrease in crime rate even though nearly 20% of the police force reported sick.
  • USA Today reported a lowered number of criminal incidents since March 2020. Agencies reported that a decrease in traffic jams decreased the crime rate by up to 92% in some areas where street criminals roamed. 
  • Police crackdowns have also helped decrease the number of organized criminal activities. 

Despite the shifting trends, the crime rate has dropped significantly since moving to lockdown. With all the evidence pointing towards a positive decline in crime, we have to understand other factors at play. Citizens initially hesitated in reporting any criminal behavior that gave rise to drug supply significantly. However, drug dealers cannot perform their dealing with the imposed lockdown and remain vulnerable to identifications. In some cases, domestic violence cases increased due to people living indoors with no connection to the outside world. However, these cases remain smaller than those of regularly reported cases. 

Final Word

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted nearly all walks of life, and criminal activities are also one of them. With many negative impacts that lockdown brought, such as economic disasters, the crime rate declined. As governments super-imposed these policies, police and law enforcement have to remain on the streets to implement the restrictions. The act itself brought a halt to crimes as they stay in the crosshairs of the police. With the lockdown restrictions slowly lifting, governments need to implement alternative policies to decrease or maintain the reduced crime rate worldwide.

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