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SANDAG: Property crime, simple assault rates drop amid stay-at-home order

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Posted at 11:34 AM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 14:34:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — During California's stay-at-home order, property crimes have decreased compared to the same time last year, according to a recent SANDAG report.

SANDAG's report found the property crime rates (defined under larceny) dropped drastically in the last two months when compared to March and April of last year, while other crimes like simple assault and domestic violence also saw decreases:

Simple assault (no weapon and non-serious injury):

  • Dropped 7% in March 2020 compared to March 2019
  • Dropped 18% in April 2020 compared to April 2019

Larceny:

  • Dropped 23% in March 2020 compared to March 2019
  • Dropped 26% in April 2020 compared to April 2019

Domestic violence:

  • Dropped 1% in March 2020 compared to March 2019
  • Dropped 3% in April 2020 compared to April 2019

Aggravated assault (possible weapon used or serious injury):

  • Dropped 16% in March 2020 compared to March 2019
  • Increased 3% in April 2020 compared to April 2019

SANDAG said it appears that stay-at-home orders are having more of an affect on property crime than other crime rates, but that other factors could have influenced the changes.

In the short term, SANDAG says possible impacts from the pandemic could include increases in mental health issues, substance abuse, opportunities for financial schemes, conflicts between individuals isolating together, or burglary/vandalism of unoccupied properties. The report also notes a decrease in child abuse reports.

Long-term impacts may include hate crimes, crimes committed due to financial instability or job loss, or juvenile crime or victimization while schools are closed.

"Crime rates can vary based on a number of different factors, including the opportunity to commit a crime, availability of law enforcement to respond and investigate, and other factors such as alcohol and other drug use that may be associated with certain crimes," the report says. "It is challenging to definitively say what the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 may be on public safety."