The Effect of the Coronavirus on Crimes


Photo Courtesy of the New York Post

As a result of the coronavirus, the number of crimes could either go up or down.

Tiana Salisbury, Photojournalist

The coronavirus has affected many people and has caused communities to quarantine and stay home in fear of getting infected. Individuals have been forced to work at home, and others have lost their jobs as a result of the virus. While everyone is staying home, what is happening to crime rates? Will they go up because less people are working? Or will they have a significant drop because the people who commit crimes are also afraid of the virus? Analise Hopper (9) believes that “the number of crimes should go down, but if more people are unemployed, there is a possibility that crime rates could rise.”

As a result of the coronavirus, many businesses have had to lay off a portion of their workers. The virus has caused a decrease in sales and customers for a handful of companies, which means that they require less workers or even no workers. When people are laid off, some of them become unemployed instead of trying to find a new job during these difficult times. Science Direct states that, when people are unemployed, they are 60% more likely to commit property crimes such as theft and vandalism. According to the Guardian, the number of unemployed individuals is increasing by 6.6 million each week, which might result in crime rates rising as well.

Although this may be true, crime rates are more likely to drop because of fear of the virus. To stay safe, everyone is encouraged to stay inside, and if they do go outside, they should protect themselves from the virus. According to Forbes, “major cities across the United States report significant dip in major crimes like burglary, assault, murder, robbery and grand larceny, a drop likely influenced by a lack of opportunity as businesses close and streets empty.” Many public buildings and facilities are closed due to the virus, and people are now staying in their home, opposed to leaving their home empty while going to work. This decreases the opportunities for crimes, which will ultimately decrease the number of crimes.

A second factor that could result in less crimes is the more relaxed law enforcement. This is occurring because police departments are purposely not arresting criminals to keep them out of jail. For example, Poynter states that Philadelphia has “decided not to arrest people on charges like narcotics, theft, burglary and vandalism.” The decision makes some sense because in jail, a virus would spread rapidly. Since people are not being arrested, the crime rate is being lowered.

In response to the coronavirus, the number of crimes could either go up or down depending on what communities are doing to protect themselves. Theoretically, crime rates should be lowering, but with the increase of unemployed individuals, crimes could potentially become more common.