The Good and Bad of Pandemic-Era Crime Rates

Here’s some positive news from the crime beat. It is reported that, nationwide, robberies, rapes, drug offenses and burglaries are down during the first half of 2020.
This trend is one of the rare good things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fewer people have been venturing out the last several months, decreasing the number of robbery targets. Same thing with open-air drug deals and rapes, fewer people were out-and-about going to bars, nightclubs and other social gatherings. And even stupid criminals know not to try to commit burglary by breaking into a home where family members are hunkered down during the lockdown.
Now for the negative. Homicides and gun violence are on the rise. Murders have spiked in 36 of the 50 biggest American cities that were studied during a newly released Wall Street Journal analysis of crime stats.

Many Big Cities See an Increase in Homicide

On average, the nation’s homicide rate is up 24% so far this year compared to the same period in 2019. But in certain cities the murder rate is much higher. In Chicago homicides are up 52%. In San Antonio it’s 34%. Phoenix has seen a 32% rise in murders, Philadelphia 31% and Houston 27%. Gang activity is most frequently blamed for the rise as gang members are also feeling the economic pinch of isolation and turf wars have ignited, playing out on near-empty street corners. This year’s recent huge jump in gun sales may have also played a part in the rising inner-city death toll.
It is such a shame because the U.S. murder rate had been significantly slowing since the early 90’s.
As for the idea that the escalation in murders is exclusively happening in American cities run by Democrats (such as the cities mentioned above) – baloney! According to the WSJ, “Homicides are rising at a double-digit rate in most of the big cities run by Republicans, including Miami, San Diego, Omaha, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida.”

And, by the way, the aforementioned San Antonio is led by a mayor who is a member of the Independent Party. Murder is truly a bipartisan problem.
I’m no social scientist but I’m thinking that it’s not just the cabin fever caused by Covid-19 isolation that has caused this increase in gun violence and murders. It seems obvious that the current spate of anything-goes-lawlessness and destructive anti-police fervor has added to the idea that illegal, anarchistic behavior won’t be punished. As proof we see disproportionately few arrests given the growing number of destructive acts of property damage – and, yes, even murders – that have occurred in several states.
It is as if we’re watching a national temper tantrum and no one is taking responsibility to stop it.

Anti-Police Brutality and Racism Protest in Portland
Author: Nathaniel St. Clair, wikipedia commons photo
Protests in Portland Frequently Turn Violent – Wikipedia Commons

Hey, if politicians are going to order law enforcement to stand down and not respond to protests that then turn into riotous rampages why should anyone be surprised when the homicide toll rises –- not just in locations where peaceful protests are hijacked by criminals -– but in Any City, USA.
If law and order can be so arbitrarily suspended, and citizen eyewitnesses can watch the destruction happen in real time on TV, where does that leave a civilized society? On the precipice of insurrection, I suppose.
Overly cautious or politically correct city leaders, motivated to appease the loudmouthed minority calling for radical change, are ignoring the rule of law that has kept this country together for 244 years. It’s as if elected officials are so bewildered by what’s been occurring that they’ve become paralyzed with indecision about how to restore public safety. Looking away from it is tacit approval.

Seattle Police were told to stand down during protests, some of which turned violent, including burning a police precinct and armed occupation of parts of downtown - wikipedia photo- author: Joe Mabel
Seattle Police Were Told to Stand Down by Elected Officials

Hamstrung law enforcement is chomping at the bit to be allowed to do their job and try to restore the peace. Citizens are astonished at what is happening to both their communities and to the idea that we are a country of laws which everyone must follow.
Look, we’ve got to find some semblance of pandemic-era normalcy now. More and more Americans will be venturing out, ending the long quarantine. With more population out and about criminals will surely find more targets.
The clock is ticking. It is time to stop the long national nightmare and put an end to the lawless temper tantrums. They have been allowed to go on far too long.



  1. Diane Dimond on August 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Reader Sharon Rager writes:

    Even with murder rates up the crime rate is down?? Even with riots and civil disobedience??? Even with drug cartels in our country becoming more powerful??

    • Diane Dimond on August 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Diane replies to Sharon:

      Yep. The overall FBI crime rates — property crimes, car thefts, home burglaries, street robberies, rape, drug offenses, etc – are down. You can understand why, right? So many have stayed home, sequestered, and not out and about either becoming victims or committing crimes. If most people stay at home who is there to rob, rape, sell drugs to?

  2. Diane Dimond on August 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Reader Jonathan Swartz writes:

    Interesting article Diane. This is exactly what I have been reading in the papers and watching on the news.

  3. Diane Dimond on August 10, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Reader Jeff Gold writes:

    With all due respect, it’s not a “law and order” issue at all (ie that “crime goes unpunished”. A substantial body of evidence going many years back shows that being subject to a sudden and unexpected mass-layoff is found to increase the probability that an individual commits a crime.

  4. Diane Dimond on August 10, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Reader Jeffrey Young writes:

    With so many people home teleworking, burglary and other crimes against property go down because they’re home and watching their property. But again, with people cooped up together for months on end, I would not be surprised to see domestic disturbances go up.

    • Diane Dimond on August 10, 2020 at 11:35 am

      Diane replies to Jeffrey:

      Yes. Domestic violence calls are up….so, sadly, are sexual crimes against children.

  5. Diane Dimond on August 12, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    ABQ Journal reader L.E. writes:

    It’s hard to believe that adults, especially ones in leadership roles in New Mexico and Albuquerque government have to be reprimanded by Diane Dimond. Such a shame, but they deserve it.

    Who would have ever dreamed that our very own upper level officials would make excuses for rioters and looters, denigrate our police who put their lives on the line every day, and do everything in their power to destroy small business owners, the backbone of our communities.

    Yes, Diane, it is exactly as if we’re watching a national temper tantrum and no one is taking responsibility to stop it!

    Let me ask (Mayor) Keller and (Governor) Lujan Grisham, would you let your own children ride roughshod over your home and family like all these bad actors? Because we all know that these brats grow up to be bullies who don’t care one whit about anything but their desire to vent anger with destruction. Think what will happen when they arrive at YOUR door? They have shown you with Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and yes Albuquerque, what they will do if allowed and YOU have allowed it.

    It is past time to stand up to this anarchistic behavior and do the job that you were elected to do: protect law abiding citizens and punish those who ignore the rule of law.


  6. Diane Dimond on September 6, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Reader DavidSparkman writes:

    Being a police officer is one of the most marital stressful jobs you can have. Your spouse is constantly worried that they will suddenly be on their own to raise the family, loose their best friend, and have their world turned upside down. Most police departments offer marital counseling for this reason. There is the constant question of can’t you find a different, safer job? And in times of national strife such as in Portland, it only gets worse

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