The Phoenix Police Department reported that violent crime increased in the first six months of 2020. The Crime Analysis and Research Unit collected data that demonstrates that the numbers of murders and aggravated assaults rose by approximately 25%. They believe that the COVID pandemic is the reason for the increase.
Sargent Mercedes Fortune stated that the lockdown contributed to the rise in Phoenix’s crime stats. There aren’t as many people walking around in the streets because they have been at home during the lockdown, but assaults and murders still often happen in the home.
In all of 2019, there were 75 homicides in Phoenix, but in the first half of 2020, there were nearly 100. In 2019, people reported approximately 3,500 aggravated assaults, but in 2020, there were nearly 1,000 more reported.
Not all crime statistics were higher in Phoenix; in 2019, people reported 20,000 thefts, but in 2020 there have only been approximately 18,000 thefts reported. There were also many more burglaries in 2019 than in 2020. Last year, victims reported nearly 5,000 burglaries, but in 2020 there were only 4,000 burglaries committed. Again, the fact that many people spent their days staying home rather than leaving for work may account for much of this.
The numbers of rapes are practically equal at this time. In 2019, nearly 600 rapes were committed. In 2020, approximately the same number of rapes were reported in the first half of the year.
The lockdown has also caused some criminal activities to go down. More people have been forced to remain at home, and this is why the Phoenix Police Department believes that there are fewer burglaries. They decreased by nearly 20% since last year. The police department advises Phoenix residents that they still need to take safety precautions even though the numbers of burglaries have decreased.
Police reported that one of the main reasons for the increase in criminal acts is because of domestic violence. In the first six months of 2019, people reported 10 cases of homicides related to domestic violence. In the first six months of 2020, this number increased to 24. This is a 140% increase in this type of homicide case.
Deaths related to domestic violence rose by 180% from the beginning of the year until August 3 in 2020, but burglaries and thefts have gone down. Burglaries have been dropping steadily in Phoenix since 2011 and the area’s police officers believe that these numbers will continue to fall by 18% from 2019.
Jeanna Panas of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence stated that 49 domestic violence cases were reported in Arizona during a six-month period, and nearly half of those took place in Phoenix. Ms. Panas is concerned that women don’t have a choice to leave their homes and find a safe place at this time. If they can’t get to the safe places that were available to them before the pandemic, she is concerned that domestic violence numbers are going to continue to rise.
Beginning in March, when the lockdown began, the Phoenix Police Department stated that more calls reporting domestic violence were coming in. This was also something that was occurring over the entire state of Arizona. In April, the police department decided that it needed to share resources and testimonies about domestic violence, so it launched a campaign that it called “Domestic Violence Help!”
According to the Phoenix Police Department, aggravated assaults went up by 25% in the year 2020. This includes those committed with a firearm, other type of weapon, and weaponless fights. The definition of an aggravated assault is a physical attack that causes bodily injuries, an attack in which the perpetrator uses a lethal weapon, or when someone enters a house with the intent of causing physical harm. Approximately half of aggravated assaults were committed with a gun, but 20% were perpetrated with a knife, another 20% were committed with another dangerous weapon, and 20% were fist fights.
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense, you should consider hiring a criminal attorney today. At the law offices of Robert A. Dodell, we can represent you after you have been charged with domestic violence, assault, theft, or sex crimes. You may have been charged with an aggravated assault, which is a felony that could result in prison time. You must have a criminal lawyer defend you in court. Your future depends on it.