As COVID-19 has swept across America, the nation has watched entire cities shut down and industries slow to a halt. People are attempting to resume everyday activities with masks and social distancing. Normal life looks very different in 2020, and the entire population is cultivating new habits to reflect that fact.
In Pennsylvania, it seems that another group of people may be heeding recommendations to stay at home. The number of criminal offenses in Pennsylvania has dropped. Why is this? Could the criminals in the Keystone State be taking a break?
Many Types of Crime May Be on Hiatus
The Pennsylvania State Police compared a week of crime data before the onset of the pandemic with a week after the outbreak. They found that instances of criminal offenses were significantly lowered:
- DUIs have dropped by 71%
- Property crimes, such as burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson, are down 91%
- Overall, total criminal offenses have fallen by 89%
This downtrend in crime in Pennsylvania may indicate nationwide trends. The Police Executive Research Forum analyzed data from a one-month period early on in the pandemic. They found that the number of reported violent crimes in this time was fewer than in the same month in 2019. The Forum included data from several cities across the nation in their analysis.
To compare Pennsylvania to the rest of the nation, the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at UPenn examined criminal justice data from 26 American cities. Except for a peak of reported violence in June, crime levels dropped precipitously in March of 2020 in Philadelphia—just after the governor instated the stay-at-home order.
This Pennsylvanian city mirrors New York City in this regard but differs from other cities (such as Nashville, Minneapolis, and Fort Worth), whose crime rates did not fall in 2020.
Criminals May Stay at Home, but Justice Cannot Rest
Just because crime rates in Pennsylvania may experience a slower summer does not mean that the police and judicial system will be going off-duty. Nor does it mean that any individual can expect to be safe from violent crime during this pandemic. One Pennsylvania news station found that calls for service increased significantly due to the pandemic—rising from 20,500 calls per week prior to COVID-19 to almost 37,000.
Many people are nervous. Pennsylvania—and the nation—are on edge. These may create perfect conditions for unwarranted accusations. Innocent people can stand accused of crimes for many reasons. If you face accusations during this time, you may feel overwhelmed. The most important thing you can do is try to stay calm. Then, contact a knowledgeable attorney so you can be proactive about protecting your rights.
If you are facing accusations for a crime, call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 as early as you can. We can assist you with your best course of action.