As most of the U.S. is shut down over the coronavirus pandemic, some violent crime rates continue to rise.
While the virus has slowed overall crime in some major cities, certain types of violence has increased. Just days after the White House released its strict coronavirus guidelines, domestic violence rates surged across the country.
The Seattle Police Department reported a 23% increase, while a domestic violence hotline in Nashville reported a 55% increase in calls over the first few weeks of March. Those numbers have only continued to surge as the U.S. and other parts of the world have been put under a quasi-form of indefinite house arrest. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Jan. 21: Fauci Says Coronavirus ‘Not A Major Threat’ To U.S.)
The U.N. warned of a “horrifying surge” of domestic violence occurring across the globe, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. was increasing its funding of anti-domestic violence initiatives.
“We’ll continue our efforts to protect women and girls during this critical time,” Pompeo said.
Concerned that #COVID19 social distancing measures may put women at a higher risk of domestic violence, we’ve increased our already significant funding for prevention of domestic violence. We’ll continue our efforts to protect women and girls during this critical time. https://t.co/TQTIUvdumI
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 11, 2020
Domestic violence isn’t the only form of violence seeing a surge. President Donald Trump warned late last month that suicides could increase by the thousands in the U.S. if the economic crisis brought upon the country by government shutdowns worsens. Suicide rates in the U.S. have already skyrocketed 35% over the past two decades, with nearly 50,000 Americans having claimed their own lives in 2018. These numbers are expected to continue to rise due to the pandemic, and parts of the country are already seeing alarming surges.
Studies have shown that debt and joblessness can lead to suicide, and joblessness is rising in the U.S. at a rate never seen in the nation’s history. Nearly 17 million people have filed for unemployment in recent weeks, more than the entirety of the 2008 Great Recession. A study conducted around that time found that for every 1% increase in the unemployment rate, there was a 1% increase in the suicide rate. In late March, more people in Tennessee died from suicide than from the actual virus as the state forced businesses to shut down and citizens to stay in their homes.
Meanwhile, in one of the hardest hit parts of the country, burglaries and carjackings have gone up by as much as 50%. The Daily Mail reported last week that Queens saw a 50% increase in burglaries and car thefts, while parts of Harlem saw burglaries up nearly 20%. The New York Police Department (NYPD) reported earlier this month that major crime was up 12% in New York City, despite the entire city being largely shut down.
Complicating matters is that some major cities across the country, including Philadelphia and New York City, are releasing hundreds of criminals from prison to protect them from getting the virus. Law enforcement throughout the country have announced they are no longer enforcing certain types of crime, and instead turning their attention to enforcing social distancing orders. (RELATED: Trump: Reopening The Country Will Be ‘Biggest Decision I’ve Ever Had To Make’)
As America ponders reopening parts of the country, it’s become clear that the virus is not the only thing threatening the lives of its citizens.