CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 21 — and the social distancing that followed — appears to have slowed crime in Chicago.
Police records from last week reveal:
- Murders dropped 29%
- Shootings were down 19%
- Sexual assaults dropped 51% from 2019
“We can’t specifically say the crime rate is effected by the coronavirus but obviously what we know going back many years and looking at data is that when large congregations of people are outside in neighborhoods where gun violence is prevalent that increases the risk,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
With more people at home, burglaries dropped 23%. The only major crime that rose last week were car thefts — the increase was only slight.
But no one is celebrating COVID-19’s correlation to crime.
Even with last week’s decline, murders for the year are still up 34% and shootings are up 27%, according to the Chicago Police Department.
“It’s no secret that we had a difficult first two months of the year with gun violence – homicides and shootings,” said Chicago Police Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck. “This month we have seen that decline. I think it’s way too soon to ascribe that to any one particular thing but we have seen a declination.”
Experts are concerned other crimes like domestic violence may rise, but go unreported as victims may not feel they have a place to escape.