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Crime and the Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Written by | Updated September 28, 2020
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Last Updated: 1 month ago
The FBI released its preliminary crime data for the first six months of 2020. We highlighted the biggest trends spotted so far and consider the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Are ongoing pandemic conditions increasing crime in America?

It depends on who you ask. From a research standpoint, it’s difficult to make a sweeping assumption—even after six months of living in a COVID-19 world.

But there are consistent signs across the country that certain crimes have seen jumps during the global pandemic. The biggest increases have been in violent crimes, particularly murder and aggravated assault.

Updated 09.28.20

Violent crime stats and trends during the pandemic:

  • Preliminary FBI data for the first six months of 2020 shows murder and non-negligent homicide as up nearly 15% compared to the same time period last year.
  • A report by the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) paints an even more dire picture—showing a 53% jump in homicides in 27 major US cities this summer, compared to the last.
  • FBI data also shows a 4.6% jump in aggravated assaults between January and June 2020, versus the same period in 2019.
  • Aggravated assault rose 14% summer over summer, according to the CCJ analysis.
  • Gun violence has been relentless for much of 2020, particularly in major cities like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia.
  • As of September 28, the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) has recorded 13,641 homicides, murders, and unintentional gun-related deaths for 2020. That’s almost 90% of the total recorded for all of 2019.

It’s not all bad news, though. There are plenty of other crimes that have dropped dramatically amid stay at home orders, physical distancing, and other pandemic conditions.

  • Counts of rape have dropped, according to FBI data—falling almost 18% year over year.
  • Robberies have also been on the decline, dropping 7% for the first half of 2020.
  • Overall, property crimes have been on a downward trajectory this year.

Property crime stats and trends during the pandemic:

  • According to a preliminary FBI report,  property crime saw an 8% decrease nationwide between January and June 2020, compared to the same timeframe last year.
  • The FBI shows burglaries down across the board by nearly 8% year over year, although cities like Seattle and San Francisco have seen drastic increases.
  • Larceny thefts also dropped by nearly 10% in the first half of 2020, according to FBI data.
  • Car thefts and break-ins have been on the rise during the pandemic. The FBI shows a 6% climb in vehicle thefts between January and June 2020, compared to the same time in 2019.
  • Cities like Los Angeles, Denver, and Scarsdale, New York have broken records for the number of cars stolen so far in 2020.
  • The FBI also reports a drastic jump of 19% in arson offenses nationwide. The majority (52%) of that increase came from cities with more than one million residents.

Mask madness: Crime news related to face coverings

Updated 08.14.20

Even though 34 states now require face coverings in public settings where social distancing isn’t possible, masks are still causing an uproar from coast to coast. Mississippi was the latest state to join the ranks of mask mandates on August 4.

  • A Sesame Place employee was punched in the face by a park guest after the guest was reminded to wear a face mask. The Middletown, Pennsylvania family theme park opened on July 24 with COVID-19 precautions, including wearing a mask in the park.
  • A Florida sheriff banned masks for officers and visitors to the sheriff’s department. The move came after the city of Ocala passed an ordinance mandating masks in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • Illinois’s governor successfully gained approval to criminalize business owners that don’t enforce mask mandates for customers and employees. Owners that are lax on masks now face a possible $2,500 fine in Illinois.
  • Law enforcement agencies in multiple states (including Wisconsin, Arkansas, Indiana, and Kentucky) refuse to enforce mask mandates or respond to calls about face coverings. Some, like the police chief in Marshall, Arkansas, don’t even require officers to wear masks.
  • Georgia’s governor doubled down on his ban that prohibits city or county government from issuing mask requirements. He extended his order in the midst of a lawsuit with Savannah’s mayor who issued an order in spite of the ban.
  • New Jersey is considering a bill that would make it a crime if you fail to wear a mask where requirements are posted.
  • A Slatington, Pennsylvania man had a shootout with seven police officers after refusing to wear a mask in a cigar store.
  • In mid-July, an unmasked customer pulled a gun on a mask-wearing shopper in a Royal Palm Beach, Florida Walmart—there were no injuries.
  • A fight over a mask at an Albuquerque auto shop resulted in one fatality (Albuquerque ranked as the second “most dangerous” metro area in our latest report.)
  • Partiers in Nashville continue to defy city mask orders, leading top health officials to hit the streets to provide masks to revelers.

Classroom controversy: COVID-19 concerns spur confrontations

In the face of rising infection numbers, parents, educators, and government officials are at odds about how to go back to school safely.

Students and teachers are already testing positive

  • Nearly 1,600 students, faculty, and staff from Georgia public schools are quarantined after an outbreak of positive tests in schools after in-person classes resumed. The state also saw its highest single-day count of deaths due to COVID-19—136—on August 6.
  • Schools near Omaha, Nebraska are already reporting positive COVID-19 cases after resuming classes on Monday, August 10.
  • Schools across Indiana are closing up and suspending sports and other activities after students and staff test positive for COVID-19. Schools resumed in the Hoosier state on July 30.
  • A junior high schooler in Indiana tested positive for the novel coronavirus on the first day of school. The student and anyone they came in contact with were told not to return to school for at least 14 days.
  • That same Indiana school shut its doors on the third day of school after at least one staff member also tested positive.
  • A Mississippi high school student tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of in-person classes. The student and anyone who had contact with them were asked to quarantine for 14 days.

Unions and school boards struggle with school safety during the pandemic

  • National teachers’ unions are pushing members to strike if schools plan to reopen without proper health and safety measures in place.

“We will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators. But if authorities don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve . . . nothing is off the table.”
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president, told ABC News

  • New York’s governor gave the green light to open schools for more than 700,000 students across the state. But educators aren’t convinced. The state’s president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators penned a letter to the governor on behalf of 6,400 school leaders who want to delay opening in-person classes.
  • The governor of Florida is battling with school districts over in-person instruction. DeSantis rejected a plan from Tampa-area schools to begin online-only instruction on August 24.
  • The Massachusetts Teachers Association is pushing to start the school year remotely until the state meets public health benchmarks in regard to COVID-19 cases.
  • A Kansas Board of Education election is heating up as the board votes on the governor’s plan to postpone the start of the school year. A write-in candidate popped up to challenge an incumbent board member who voted against the delay.
  • New Jersey announced a mask requirement for all students who return to classes in September. The governor made the decision in response to climbing infection rates in the Garden state.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faces pushback from faculty over plans to open fully this month.

“It’s not safe for you to come to campus—to live in dormitories and apartments, to sit in classrooms, and to socialize . . . in the way that college students usually do.”
From an open letter to students from 30 tenured faculty members at UNC at Chapel Hill

  • New York’s governor says if coronavirus infection rates remain at the current 1% level, schools will hold in-person classes this fall.
  • Maryland’s governor issued an emergency order to counter Montgomery County’s directive that private schools start the year online only.
  • The president reversed course last week, encouraging schools in coronavirus hot spots to delay opening. But there was a caveat—no full federal funding until classes are 100% back in session on campus.

Overall crime trends

Crime overall has declined during the pandemic, but gun violence has seen a steady rise. 

  • A University of Pennsylvania professor who is tracking reported crimes during the COVID-19 outbreak found that reported crimes dropped an average of 23% across the 25 cities he’s monitoring.
  • Drug crimes saw the most dramatic drop—more than 63% compared to the past five years. Property crime dropped 19%, while violent crime dipped 15%. 
  • Other researchers found an overall drop in crime in many major US cities. The Bay Area had a decrease in reported crimes of around 50% at the onset of stay-at-home orders.
  • In Los Angeles, city-wide burglaries dropped 10% while retail theft jumped 67%.
  • Gun violence wreaked havoc in the Big Apple for the third straight weekend, with 22 incidents that left 24 victims. On Saturday alone, there were 10 people shot and one killed.
  • Shootings in NYC have increased by 66.8% year over year through July 17. The number of shooting victims has jumped 77.5%.
  • At least 160 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded by gun violence over the Fourth of July weekend.
  • As of July 20, there have been a total of 310 mass shootings across the nation. That’s a 34% increase compared to the same time period last year, and 74% of 2019’s total of 417 mass shootings.
  • There have also been more than 22,000 deaths by gun violence and over 19,000 injuries nationwide. 
  • Some research suggests a link between pandemic-led surges in gun sales and the country’s ongoing rash of shooting incidents. Between March and May, there were 64% more guns sold in the US—that’s over 2 million more guns than were sold during the same months in previous years.

The remainder of this article was originally published June 2, 2020

Today’s biggest threats (that aren’t the virus)

Memorial Day weekend saw 49 shootings in Chicago, 10 in New York City, and 3 in Los Angeles.

Shootings continue to be a scourge across the nation as states open up and people finally come out of their homes. Chicago’s Memorial Day weekend was its deadliest in five years.

Property crime continues to be down in most places—especially acts against private residences. But the initial dip in violent crime has normalized across much of the country, particularly in cities already wracked by gun violence and drugs continue to see those crimes proliferate, pandemic or no. 

But some new criminal activities are rearing their heads. Here are crimes that seem to be growing as we settle into the third month of social distancing.

  • Civil disobedience in the face of state and city restrictions
  • Package theft
  • Speeding
  • Surges in the opioid epidemic
  • Assault on medical workers and law enforcement (usually through coughing, spitting, or sneezing)

Crimes that continue to be problematic during the pandemic

  • Burglary of commercial businesses left vacant
  • Domestic and family violence
  • Hate crimes (especially against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)
  • Vehicle theft
  • Financial scams
  • Price gouging

Some ways you can help

Hate crimes

Domestic violence

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline online or at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Calls are free, confidential, and offer support in more than 200 languages.

Scams to watch out for

New scam alert!

Unemployment claims are the latest government program to fall victim to coronavirus scammers. States have lost millions of dollars to the unscrupulous fraudsters preying on the millions of Americans who've been put out of work during the pandemic.

Scammers have hit Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming so far.

Possibly the only thing as pervasive as the novel coronavirus is the unending stream of scams targeting us when we’re at our most vulnerable. Don’t give the scammers any victories as they prey on the fallout of a pandemic

Here’s what to look out for—and what you can do about it.

IRS stimulus check scams 

People are receiving their stimulus money, but scammers have been trying to swipe your funds since the bill was approved by the White House. Don’t respond to any of the following in regard to your stimulus payment.

The bottom line is that the IRS will not contact you for any information related to your stimulus payment. Don’t give anyone your social security number, full name, birthdate, or precious time.

“Economic impact funds” will be automatically deposited into bank accounts for eligible tax filers who already filed taxes this year. If you didn’t get your refund via direct deposit, you’ll be issued a check in the mail. 

If you didn’t file your taxes, or aren’t usually required to file, you can fill out an online IRS form to get your payment. 

Charity scams 

There has been a spike in emails, texts, and phone calls soliciting donations for phony charity organizations and others claiming to represent the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • Don’t respond to these messages.
  • Don’t click on any links.
  • Don’t provide any personal information.

Where to report scams 

If you come across a scam, help put these bad actors out of business by reporting it. 

Country-wide coronavirus crime roundup

Take a look at this week’s roundup of coronavirus crime trends happening across the nation.

We add new states and cities each week as relevant coronavirus-related news surfaces. Check back for updates if your state or city is missing.

New York City, New York

New York City skyline at sunset

New York City has seen a steady decrease in crime since the onset of the pandemic—but April numbers for murder, auto theft, and burglary increased year over year.

Highlights from recent reports about crime in New York City are included below.

  • There were 10 shootings in NYC over Memorial Day weekend, resulting in five deaths.
  • NYC saw seven fewer violent crimes reported between March 16 and April 12 in 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019.
  • Major crime in NYC dropped 28.5% in April, compared to last year. This year the city saw a total of 5,121 reported crimes—more than 2,000 fewer than the 7,162 reported in April 2019.
  • April robberies dropped 26% year over year (679 versus 913) , assaults fell by 32% (1,130 versus 1,652, and incidents of grand larceny plummeted 52% (1,566 versus 3,250).
  • Vehicle thefts, murders, and burglaries all rose year-over-year in April, with commercial burglaries making a huge 169% leap. Murders were up 4.1% (102 murders in April 2020 compared to 98 in 2019).

“Our uniformed officers and civilian employees have demonstrated extraordinary professionalism in adopting innovative policing functions to remain on the front lines, to allay uncertainty and fear, and to relentlessly serve New Yorkers for as long as this unprecedented crisis goes on.”

Dermot Shea, NYPD Police Commissioner, told NBC New York

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Not even a global pandemic can stop the rate of violence and murder in the City of Brotherly Love. Despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders, Philadelphia is seeing record numbers of homicides.

Specific statistics from Philadelphia Police Department reports shed more light below.

  • As of May 17, violent offenses in Philadelphia are down 1.6% year over year. Rape saw the biggest drop, with 16.6% fewer incidents than during the same time period in 2019.
  • The only violent crimes that have increased are gun-related—robberies with guns have gone up 1.2% and aggravated assaults with guns have jumped 15%.
  • Shooting incidents are up 60.2%, with 987 incidents for the year as of May 17, compared to 616 during the same time period in 2019.
  • Overall property crime has increased by nearly 8% as of May 17. Shoplifting shot up the most—almost 30%—followed by commercial burglaries with a 26.8% increase.
  • As more restrictions are eased, crime is increasing overall on a weekly basis. There were 1,186 Part One crime offenses reported betwen May 11 and May 17, compared to 1,066 the previous week.

“I think broadcasting no arrests for retail theft was the biggest mistake the city ever made.”
Sukhvir Thinb, Philadelphia store owner 

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago skyline

Amidst year-to-date reports of predominantly lower crime rates, shootings continue to plague Chicago during the pandemic. Find out more below.

  • Over Memorial Day weekend there were 49 shootings in Chicago, resulting in 10 deaths. That’s the most Memorial Day carnage the city’s seen in five years.
  • Chicago saw five times more shootings than NYC, and about 16 times more shootings than Los Angeles over the same holiday weekend.
  • Chicago had 82 fewer property crimes reported between March 16 and April 12, compared to the same timeframe in 2019.
  • Major arrests went down by 53% in Chicago between March 16 and April 12, and Part II crimes dropped by an impressive 73%.

“The stay-at-home order did little to prevent violence, particularly in parts of the West and South sides. These incidents primarily involved disputes between rival gang factions as well as clashes involving the sale of illegal drugs.”
David Brown, CPD superintendent

Los Angeles, California

Safest Metro Cities in America

The City of Angels saw a stark drop in crime as the city hunkered down to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Even though all crime has been trending downward, gun violence still outpaces other violent incidents.

See how crime is evolving in Los Angeles with data from the latest LAPD crime reports.

  • Violent crime was up across the board between April 19 and May 16, compared to the previous 30-day period. Overall, violent crime increased by 12%, with rape showing the biggest jump—over 40%.
  • News is better year-to-date. Violent crime is down by nearly 11% year over year.
  • Property crime went down by 1.1% between April 19 and May 16, compared to the previous month. Burglaries dropped by 3.2% and auto theft was the only property crime to see an increase (5.1%).
  • Overall, major crimes in the City of Angels went down 1.8% between April 19 and May 16.
  • Shootings are still on the rise, though. The city saw an 8.4% jump in shots fired and a 10.9% increase in shooting victims between April 19 and May 16. Year-to-date, the city reports 8.4% more shots fired and 5.7% more shooting victims than in the same time period for 2019.

“As we go through this pandemic together we must be prepared to [help] neighbors, friends, and family members in need. I’m asking every person who lives and works in Los Angeles County to be on the lookout for people who may need your help.”
Jackie Lacey, District Attorney, said about the Behind Closed Doors program to help domestic violence victims

How the coronavirus is impacting crime state to state


  • Violent crimes in Tempe increased by six incidents per 100,000 people between March 16 and April 12, compared to the same time period last year.
  • Flagstaff police haven’t seen a spike in domestic violence calls like other cities across the US, but officers have seen a jump in daytime calls since the COVID-19 pandemic gave way to stay-at home orders.
  • Calls for public intoxication have been on the rise in Flagstaff and burglaries related to public intoxication incidents have climbed almost 13%.


  • Citizens in Little Rock held a “coronavirus parade on April 5. Police issued tickets for loitering and reckless driving, despite no statewide stay-at-home order in Arkansas.
  • Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. admonished the revelers, emphasizing the coronavirus and COVID-19 are “not a game.”


  • Denver saw 10 more violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents year over year between March 16 and April 12. Denver also reported 10 more car thefts during that same timeframe this year compared to the numbers in 2019.
  • A Castle Rock restaurant owner is in hot water after serving a bustling Mother’s Day crowd against state social distancing orders. After being ordered to shut down, the owner defiantly opened for business again the following morning—continuing to eschew COVID-19 safety practices.
  • Burglaries in Boulder have jumped 189% since the beginning of March (79 this year compared to 28 in 2019), but police don’t attribute the spike to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Overall, crime in Denver saw a drop of nearly 10% in March 2020, compared to March 2019.



  • Delaware County is being proactive when it comes to residents’ mental and emotional health needs. Emergency Services is keeping an eye on domestic violence and suicide calls to see if the pandemic is spurring any spike in reports. So far, the county hasn’t seen an increase, but they want to be prepared if citizens need extra support.
  • “We haven’t seen a surge in those yet, but it is something we are daily monitoring and reporting out. With our partners and community groups, we’re all preparing to ramp up behavioral health, mental health services,” Tim Boyce, Emergency Services Director, told The Delco Times.


  • There were 7% more arrests for major crimes in Volusia County between March 16 and April 12, compared to the same time period in 2019.
  • Miami saw 1.1 fewer homicides per 100,000 people between March 16 and April 12, versus the same period last year.
  • In Jacksonville, four people have been arrested for coronavirus-related crimes in the past few weeks. Crimes range from spitting and coughing on healthcare and law enforcement workers to jumping a fence into a testing site. The Mayor is considering implementing a curfew if similar incidents persist.
  • Jacksonville has also seen a rash of shootings and assaults despite local and state advisories to stay at home. Jacksonville came in at 101 in our 2020 ranking of the Sunshine State’s safest cities, with a violent crime rate of 6 incidents per 1,000.


  • Atlanta had a 6% increase in arrests for major crimes between March 16 and April 12, but there was a drop of 29% for less serious crimes.
  • Georgia has been a hotbed of controversy as one of the first states to abandon social distancing protocols and in the aftermath of the fatal Ahmaud Arbery shooting.
  • A father and son were arrested for the crime, claiming concern about a string of break-ins in their neighborhood, but police reports don’t support the burglary spree claim. In fact, Glynn County police recorded just one burglary during that time frame—and it was a vehicle break-in.

No hard feelings

Protesters in California staged a second illegal demonstration to say, "I forgive you" to the law enforcement officers who arrested them at an earlier unsanctioned protest against California's stay-at-home orders.


  • Far-right activists and politicians in Idaho are defying statewide stay-at-home orders and challenging the constitutionality of such directives. From holding Easter services to calling out political opponents, the efforts aren’t gaining much traction.
  • Idaho’s governor and attorney general said they’re prepared to defend the stay-at-home order in court if it comes to that.


  • Despite early signs of a dip in violent crime, Indianapolis is on track to exceed homicide rates this year compared to previous years.
  • As of April 6, there had been 45 criminal homicide cases, compared to 34 by that time in 2019.
  • Last year the city saw 154 criminal homicides, and 2018 set the record with 159.


  • Kansas City police report decreases in shoplifting, vehicle theft, and automobile break-ins since the state’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 24.
  • Unfortunately, the city has seen slight increases in aggravated assaults, murders, and domestic violence calls.
  • If you feel unsafe at home, KCPD wants you to call 816-HOTLINE to talk to a domestic violence advocate.
  • Bad actors are impersonating police in several Kansas counties. Imposters pull drivers over and ask if their travel is “essential.” So far, no one has been hurt.
  • If you think you’ve been stopped by an impersonator, contact your local police and report it to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation by calling 1-800-KS-CRIME or filling out information online.


  • Shootings in Louisville have continued to rise despite stay-at-home advisories. Since orders were put in place on March 16, the city has seen 46 shootings, resulting in 11 dead.
  • For the same period in 2019, Louisville saw 19 total shootings and seven deaths.


  • Emergency 911 operators in New Orleans are getting about 100 fewer calls per day since the city has been mostly shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Since stay-at-home orders were put in place, murders involving guns have decreased 58% in New Orleans and non-fatal shootings dropped 19% compared to the incidence of those crimes between January 1 and March 15.
  • Other crimes that saw a dip in New Orleans since March 15 include armed robbery (down 29%), carjackings (down 54%), and car break-ins (down 34%).
  • A riot and a mass escape rocked youth prison facilities (and surrounding communities) in Louisiana in April. The system is already strained due to multiple outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.



  • Overall property crime in Baltimore dropped by 135 incidents per 100,000 people between March 16 and April 12, versus the same timeframe in 2019.
  • Baltimore homicides rose slightly between March 16 and April 12, compared to the same time period last year, but violent crime incidents dropped overall by 10 crimes per 100,000 people.
  • Robberies in Baltimore fell by 6.8 incidents per 100,000 between March 16 and April 12, and burglaries dropped by 24 incidents, compared to last year.
  • A Carrol County man has been charged for violating social distancing orders after throwing a party in a local hotel. Gatherings of more than 10 people are currently prohibited statewide.


  • Major crime arrests in Boston declined by a whopping 66% between March 16 and April 12, compared to the same time period in 2019.
  • Police report an uptick in vehicle break-ins across Boston, although home burglaries have declined since a city-wide curfew was put in place to help battle the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • Boston city officials and a community organizations that track crime fear shootings are on the rise during the pandemic, although police reported no difference between the number of fatal shootings in March 2019 and March 2020.


  • Grand Rapids saw a 20% jump in arrests for major crimes between March 16 and April 12, versus the same timeframe last year.
  • Overall, crime is still increasing in Detroit despite the pandemic, but the rate of increase has slowed significantly since the outbreak started to ravage the city. Detroit police report around 20% fewer major crimes in the city each week, compared to last year’s numbers.
  • As of the week ending April 19, more than 180 Detroit police department employees had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, over 1,000 have been quarantined, and several have died, including the director of homicide and a volunteer police chaplain.
  • Crime dipped initially after stay-at-home orders were issued, but Detroit criminals got back to business-as-usual when April rolled around. In the first week of April the city saw 27 non-fatal shootings and 8 homicides.



  • St. Louis has seen fewer shootings since the state imposed its stay-at-home order. As of April 24, the city reported a 77% reduction in murders year over year compared to the same time period in 2019.
  • A local group dedicated to reducing crime in Kansas City is changing its tactics from door-to-door interactions to phone outreach in order to comply with the city’s stay-at-home order.

Making a difference

"Wash the Hate" is a PSA campaign spearheaded by Asian celebrities who want to quash the recent spike of hate crimes aimed at Asian Americans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign aims to unite all communities against our "common enemy."



  • The sheriff’s office in Lincoln reports a jump in gun sales as the pandemic continues. Between February and March, handgun sales grew by 121% (from 342 purchases to 758). In April sales dipped a bit, but there were still 553 handguns sold in Lancaster County that month.
  • In early April, one person was killed and at least two others injured in a shooting after police broke up a large gathering of people in an Omaha park.

New Hampshire

  • Concord saw domestic disturbance calls on the rise as early as April 14, with 38% more calls coming in compared to the rate before stay-at-home orders were in effect.
  • All calls for service dipped by 40% between the middle of March and early April, compared to 2019.

New Jersey

  • Newark reported 12 fewer violent crimes per 100,000 residents between March 16 and April 12, compared to the same timeframe in 2019.
  • New Jersey saw an overall 25% decrease in crime year over year after the first month in quarantine.
  • Shootings in the Garden State were down 18% for the first quarter of the year, compared to the same time period in 2019.
  • Despite stay-at-home-orders police report no downturn in deaths caused by car crashes

New Mexico

  • Crime in Albuquerque hasn’t seen huge changes due to the pandemic. While residential burglaries are down, commercial burglaries have risen. Murders remain on track with previous years, and the city hasn’t yet seen a spike in domestic violence calls.

North Dakota


  • In the first 30 days of Ohio’s stay-at-home order, Cincinnati saw an upswing in murders and a downturn in domestic violence calls.
  • A spike in Cincinnati’s homicide rate is reported across the board, though the extent of the increase is up for debate—some news outlets claim a 270% jump and others indicate a 115% rise.
  • Other crimes that have increased in Cincinnati year over year include a 31% spike each in auto thefts and robberies, and a 20% rise in aggravated assaults. Burglaries decreased by 2.5%, rape went down by 30%, and car break-ins are down nearly 17%.


  • On April 16, the director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation told lawmakers that the crime rate in the state has been relatively unchanged during the pandemic lockdown.
  • While violent crime calls remain flat, petty theft has seen a bump—although the jump is being attributed to a change in what qualifies as a felony theft rather than any coronavirus restrictions.


  • On May 1, Portland law enforcement officials reported that shootings in the city are roughly 25% higher year over year.
  • Right after the state’s stay-at-home order was issued, Portland saw a slight dip in crime, but burglary arrests are starting to climb. There were four burglaries reported during the week of March 15 compared to 17 reported the week of April 19.
  • Washington County has seen a rise in property crime and officials are linking the trend to the state’s pandemic state of emergency. In response, the Washington County DA plans to charge some misdemeanor thefts as felonies in an attempt to curb so-called “covid thieves.”

Rhode Island

  • Unemployment scams have hit Rhode Island hard. The state Department of Labor and Training and the FBI are investigating hundreds of fraudulent claims among the more than 200,000 legitimate claims from workers hit by the pandemic fallout.
  • As of April 27, there were 29 Rhode Island police officers who were off-duty because of the novel coronavirus. Eight were positive for COVID-19, and the others were either waiting for test results or to be tested.
  • A man in Pawtucket robbed a convenience store wearing the recommended face mask and gloves—blending in as a regular, “good citizen” during the pandemic.

South Carolina

  • Domestic violence incidents have increased since the onset of the pandemic. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department reported 47 calls between March 15 and April 20—a 51% increase compared to the same period last year.
  • Columbia police had 63 domestic violence calls between March 22 and April 20, versus 60 during the same timeframe in 2019.
  • Sistercare, a domestic violence counseling service, saw 66% more calls in April than usual.

South Dakota

  • Native American tribes are clashing with the governor over checkpoints established on state and federal highways in an effort to keep the novel coronavirus out of reservations.
  • The Oglala and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes say they are trying to protect the health of their families, but the state says it’s unlawful to block the free flow of traffic on these roadways.
  • As of May 24, the checkpoints remain and the governor has made little official headway in her effort to get them removed, despite official letters and threats of legal action.

“I would rather, when this is all over, be in court or be criticized for overreacting or doing too much than I would to live the rest of my life knowing somebody was hurt or somebody passed away unnecessarily.”
Remi Bald Eagle, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe


  • Marsy’s Law, landmark legislation designed to strengthen the rights of crime victims in Tennessee, has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak. State legislators will take the law up again when they reconvene in January 2021.
  • Nashville saw a 250% jump in homicides during the initial weeks of stay-at-home orders, compared to the same period last year. There were four homicides between March 16 and April 12 last year, compared to 14 this year.
  • In the midst of the pandemic, Nashville’s government and police get high ratings from the public. The police department’s approval rating is 86% so far this year—an increase over 2019 ratings.


  • Overall crime in the Salt Lake City area dipped by 84% from March to April, according the Unified Police Department.
  • Domestic offenses have been on the rise, though. Salt Lake City family violence calls jumped 34% in April, compared to the same time last year.
  • Commercial burglaries rose 45% in Salt Lake from March to April.

Solve cold cases during quarantine

The Utah Department of Public Safety wants to put pandemic boredom to good use. The department launched a website with information on 400 cold cases and they're asking amateur sleuths to go online and see if they can help solve them.


  • Police say that crime rates are rising again after an initial drop at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. Vermont State Police reported a 29% drop in crime during April and early May—including a 47% dip in assaults. But as summer inches closer, crime is returning to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Shoplifting and intoxication have been on the rise, and police also report a rise in both assaults and property damage at hotels, specifically.
  • Crime has dropped around 17% across the state year to date.


  • Virginians flocked to the roadways over Memorial Day weekend, after weeks of being cooped up inside. Sadly, the mad dash resulted in 8 deaths, 2,489 reckless driving citations, and 70 DUI arrests.
  • Those numbers are down from 2019, but only slightly. In 2019 the holiday weekend saw 75 DUIs, 11 fatalities, and 2,548 reckless driving citations.


  • Seattle had 32 more burglaries per 100,000 people between March 16 and April 12, compared to the same time period last year.
  • One Seattle precinct saw an 87% jump in burglaries in March, as businesses shuttered due to the pandemic. Overall, the city has seen 21% more burglaries.

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Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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