We have reported previously on what appear to be some changes in crime statistics that may well be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in our May 20 blog (Domestic Violence and COVID-19), we discussed domestic violence in Phoenix. Specifically, we talked about what appeared to be a rise in domestic violence calls to the police, which may be attributable to the added stress we are all living with. More recently, some new information has surfaced regarding a variety of criminal charges over the past months. Here is what we’ve learned.
The first area we’ll look at is violent crime (as defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program), comparing the periods of January through June 2019 with January through June 2020 in Phoenix:
- Homicide. Homicide (including murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide) was from 74 in the first half of 2019 to 93 during the first half of 2020. The increase of 25% is significant.
- Rape. Reported rapes were down by over 3% between last year and this year.
- Robbery. The number of reported robberies (1,564) was exactly the same during the two periods
- Aggravated Assault. Aggravated assault, like murder, jumped by about 25% from 2019 to 2020.
The good news is that not all the violent crimes are up this year. The bad news is that homicides and aggravated assault jumped significantly, and the total of violent crimes increased by more than 15% during the first half of this year.
When it comes to property crimes, the results are mixed:
- Burglary. Burglary was down by almost 21% in 2020, a major decrease compared with last year.
- Theft. This category, which covers everything from shoplifting to bad checks, among others, was down by almost 7%.
- Motor Vehicle Theft. Surprisingly, while theft in general was down, motor vehicle theft increased during the same period by over 10%.
- Arson. Possibly the most surprising result of all, reports of arson jumped by almost 53% (104 in 2019 to 159 in 2020).
When all these results are considered, we’re most concerned about the violent crime increase, particularly aggravated assault, and homicide. Time will tell if the ups and downs of the pandemic will play a role in the level of these offenses in the future.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004