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Crime is falling sharply, even in the most violent US cities



The coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled large retailers and small businesses around the world, could also affect illegal business.

In Chicago, one of the most violent places in the United States, drug arrests have decreased 42% year over year in the weeks since the city closed.

Some lawyers say part of the reason for this decline is that traders have no choice but to wait for the economic downturn.

“The feedback I get is that they can̵

7;t move and can’t sell anything anywhere,” said Joseph Lopez, a lawyer in Chicago who represents renowned drug dealers.

Overall, crime in Chicago dropped 10% after the pandemic, a trend that is emerging worldwide. Fewer people are killed and there are fewer robberies.

However, law enforcement officials are concerned about an increase in unreported domestic violence and what happens when restrictions are lifted or too long.


It is rare for a city to see a double-digit decrease in crime, even over a much longer period. During the decline in crime in New York in the 1990s, one of the greatest turning points in US history, crime decreased by about 40% in three years.

Across Latin America, crime has dropped to levels never seen in decades. For example, El Salvador reported an average of two murders a day last month, after peaking at 600 a day a few years ago.

Eduardo Perdomo, a 47-year-old construction worker, said getting off a bus in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. “I think, you [gang members] are afraid to become infected with the virus and they do not go out. “

Much of the decline is due to stricter security policies and ceasefires. However, according to analysts and national statistics, imposing almost complete restrictions on movement is likely to further reduce movement.

In Peru, crime decreased by 84% last month. Raúl González, an undertaker in Lima, usually has up to 15 bodies a day, many of whom are murder victims. This week, after six hours without customers, he took a nap on a bench. “There are almost no murders or car accidents these days,” said González.

In South Africa, police reported a sharp drop in the first week of the blockade. The country’s police minister, Bheki Cele, said rapes reported had dropped from 700 to 101 in the same period last year. Serious attacks decreased from 2,673 to 456 and murders from 326 to 94.


In New York, where the US has the highest number of coronavirus cases, fatalities such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, assault, theft and car theft decreased by 12% from February to March. In Los Angeles, the statistics for major offenses were consistent with the previous year’s figures up to the week of March 15, when they decreased 30%.

“There are far fewer opportunities for criminals to take advantage of them,” said Joe Giacalone, a former New York Police Department sergeant who now teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Most burglars are waiting for you to leave the house.”

The police have also changed in the face of the pandemic. Officers are getting sick; The NYPD, the country’s largest division with more than 36,000 officers, has more than 7,000 unemployed officials and over 2,000 diagnosed with Covid-19.

The US authorities say they issue quotations instead of making low-level arrests, monitoring physical detachment, and putting detectives in patrol cars, which in turn could lower the crime rate.

“Although departments are unlikely to disclose that they have stopped monitoring certain crimes, it will,” said Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University. “In many ways, they’re really going to be in survival mode over the next few weeks.”


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With narcotics arrests declining, drug sales continue and traders are likely to change their strategies, said Rodney Phillips, a former Chicago gang member who is now working as a conflict mediator in the city. “These people are already suffering from poverty and death in these areas,” he said. “Maybe they are selling more online now. But they won’t give up just because of the corona virus. “

A Maryland man accused of running a dark online prescription opioid webshop said on his provider page: “Even with Corona Virus, the shop is in full swing.” He told an undercover FBI agent he was just waiting a delivery “because it is this corona virus [expletive] Add inventory, ”court records said.

However, other crimes can be fueled by shutdown commands. The Houston police chief, Art Acevedo, said the number of serious attacks in the city had increased by 10% in the past three weeks, and half of them were domestic violence, a significantly higher proportion than normal. Calls to Missouri’s child abuse and neglect hotline dropped by half when the virus hit the state. Lawyers said the calls were not made because the children were out of school.

And Chicago saw an increase in gun violence this week, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which reported 60 shootings with 19 fatalities between Sunday and Thursday.

In San Jose, California, chief of police Eddie Garcia hopes the downward trend will continue after the pandemic ends. But his officers are preparing for the worst. “The longer we are locked up,” he said, “the more we play with fire.”


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