Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Kwei Quartey

Crime in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic has followed a not altogether clear path. The general headline has been that crime rates have fallen because the stay-at-home orders has kept people from going out to commit crimes.

In Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Oakland, the average weekly number of reported crimes in February to March dropped from about 6,150 to 3,620—a decrease of 41%. Most of the decrease was due to a fall in larceny, auto break-ins in particular.

What about violent crime (homicide, rape, robbery, and assault)? Overall, it dropped from a weekly average of about 1,880 in February to about 1,360 in the last week of March—a 28% decrease.
But a subset of violent crime that must be carved out for attention is domestic violence. Worldwide, domestic abuse hotlines are lighting up as staying at home fuels brutality. In the U.S, since March 16, 2020, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has received 2,345 calls in which COVID-19 was a tool of abuse.
Covid Crimes
Covid Crimes: Domestic abuse (Shutterstock/sdecoret)

The scenarios related in these calls illustrate just how manipulative these wretched abusers are; e.g. abusers preventing healthcare workers from going to work, because the victim is "purposely trying to infect them with COVID-19 by going to work."

For the abused, shelter-in-place restrictions can result in anything but safety because typical resources for victims may be less accessible: refuges may be closing or limiting their intake; in addition, there is little someone can do to physically escape their abuser.

People in close quarters in a home where tempers can flare may act as a powder keg. On April 27, 2020, a Milwaukee man shot five family members dead at home and made the 911 call himself. Officials stated that the shooting was "very much a family matter."

Covid Crimes: The Bizarre Stuff
Trust human beings to come up with the strangest things.
  • Wyndham Lathem is the former professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine who was charged in the 2017 murder of his boyfriend. World-renowned in infectious disease, Lathem has asked a judge to free him from Cook County Jail on $1 million bail, because, Lathem says, his research skills could help save lives. Yeah, sure. Petition denied. 
  • Missouri cops arrested a man accused of filming himself licking deodorant in a Walmart. You can watch the video here.
  • A Wisconsin woman “protested” coronavirus by licking the door handles of a grocery store freezer, police say.
  • In Colorado, police say a woman who crashed into four cars spit on a cop and told him, “There’s some Corona for you, now all you need is a lime,” The Denver Post reported.
COVID Crimes: Corona and lime (Shutterstock/AlenKadr)


  1. Incredible stories. As you say, trust people to come up with something you couldn't put in a book because no one would believe it.
    In South Africa crime has also fallen quite dramatically. The minister of police puts it down to the alcohol sales prohibition. He's an abstainer, of course. He sites arrests for drunken driving (essentially zero) to prove the point...

  2. It's one tragedy compounding upon another. Even the Corona beer production facility in Mexico closed--though not because of diminished sales as some have claimed.