Sunday, March 29, 2020

New York police report a drop in crime during pandemic

Measures adopted to stop the spread of the coronavirus in New York appear to have put a dent in crime, New York City’s police commissioner, reported the New York Times.
The drop in crime is not just in New York.  In fact, in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco, recent data show big drops in crime reports, week over week. The declines are even more significant when we compare this year with the same time periods in the three previous years.
Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea, expressed concern about the persistence of violent crimes like robberies and shootings. And he specifically said he was troubled by a “dramatic” decline in reports of sexual assaults and domestic violence.
“We saw an immediate drop in most categories in crime,” Commissioner Shea said at a news briefing, when asked how the new restrictions on businesses had affected public safety.
Compared with the previous week, the police recorded 443 fewer serious crimes, like assault and burglary, in the week that ended on Sunday, a 24.5 percent decline. Officers also made 1,538 fewer arrests last week compared with the week before.
Last week, detectives received just 25 new complaints that met the federal threshold for rape, compared with 51 the week before. The number of other sex crimes reported fell to 62 last week, compared with 102 on March 15.
“Maybe I’m just glass half empty here,” Commissioner Shea said, “but I can’t imagine that the crimes aren’t happening. I’m sure that there’s many crimes happening.”
Mr. de Blasio noted a surge in bias attacks aimed at the city’s Asian residents, and he urged the victims of such crimes to contact the police right away.
As crime ebbed, more Police Department employees became infected. As of Tuesday, Commissioner Shea said, 211 department members had tested positive for the virus, including 177 uniformed officers.
Two of the city’s biggest police unions say the department is failing to inform officers when someone they have worked with has tested positive.
The Police Benevolent Association, which represents rank-and-file officers, has instructed members to log sick time or time spent in quarantine related to the virus on line-of-duty injury forms, while the Sergeants Benevolent Association has assigned its delegates to monitor commands for reports of new cases and exposures.
The goal, an official said, was to avoid something similar to what occurred after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when many officers who worked to clean the wreckage at the World Trade Center site did not have records of the time they spent there.
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