Michigan’s Overall Crime Down, Violent Crime Up During Pandemic
COVID-19 has an indirect impact on the level of crime during the pandemic.
According to WOOD, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has data that shows the overall crime rate is down 16% from last year but violent crime is up 20%.
During the shutdown back in April there was virtually no one out and with the streets bare, there was no one around to commit a crime but that quickly changed as temperatures began to warm up and people became more active.
I'm not sure if the overall crime rate is down because less people were committing crimes or due to COVID-19 contact with civilians, police were avoiding small stuff.
Once the summer months kicked in as did the heat, that is when Michigan saw the jump in violent crimes. This was at a time where unemployment went through the roof and more people than usual were without an income. Plus let's not forget the impact of people being cooped up together for long periods of time.
WOOD spoke with Michigan State University criminal justice professor Chris Melde and he said, "I think that's a natural place to think that may have something to do in the rise of violence."
There is a trend that is not just a Grand Rapids thing or a Michigan thing, but homicides are up all across the country this year. Grand Rapids has already had their 35th murder this year and that is nearly double last year's homicides.
CEO of YWCA West Central Michigan Charisse Mitchell told WOOD, "public health crises like COVID don't cause domestic violence, it's the conditions that may be exasperated."
We all know it's tough out there and my guess is things are gonna get worse before they get better. It probably won't be until next fall before we see the effects the vaccine will have on communities who have received them and what the economy will be like.