With more individuals under stay-at-home orders, it appeared that national crime rates were going down. However, due to several economic factors, some areas of the United States saw an increase in theft crime.
The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic brought an increase of theft crimes, especially shoplifting and property theft. Various supermarkets across the United States witnessed shoplifting due to an increasingly high unemployment rate and economic uncertainty. This has been confirmed by interviews with security experts and police departments across the country. There has been a trend with shoplifting with more individuals gravitating towards food stables and supplies such as bread, pasta, laundry detergent, and baby formula.
Property theft has also increased, with individuals targeting now empty or abandoned commercial spaces and buildings. Today, we will review which theft crimes increased during the pandemic and the reasons why this occurred.
What Theft Crimes Have Gone Up?
The type of theft crimes that have increased during the pandemic include retail shoplifting, supermarket shoplifting, and property theft. According to the FBI, there has also been a 6% climb in vehicle thefts as well. This could be due to various reasons. As many individuals are not using their cars, they are checking on them less. There is also less foot traffic around cars parked on the streets, which makes cars an easy target for burglars.
With the pandemic keeping everyone inside, the nation saw a decrease in residential burglaries. However, with less people working in commercial spaces, opportunists took their chances to rob these buildings. Commercial burglaries increased by almost 30% this year up from last year.
Why Have These Crimes Increased?
In the wake of official responses to the pandemic, mass lockdowns, and mandatory stay-at-home orders, certain crimes rose due to economic instability.
With over 20 million Americans without work and on a form of unemployment assistance, money has been tight for many families during this time. Additionally, many individuals decided to resign from work due to fear of contracting the Coronavirus. Other reasons crime has increased include the fact that many Americans were struggling with debt, threats of eviction, hunger, and the fear of being late on rent.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has notes that 54 million Americans will struggle with hunger this year, which is a 45% increase from last year. While there are food aid programs and other options such as food banks, soup kitchens, and additional federal aid programs, many have been overwhelmed.
In retail shops, shoplifting has gone up as there is a common correlation between economic issues and theft. Historically, unemployment has been shown to be a contributing factor to an increase in theft as well. For many Americans, this was how they were able to feed themselves, for others, they took the chance to steal as many stores were understaffed and overwhelmed during the pandemic due to employee shortages and new, mandatory COVID-19 protocols that required more diligence.
Facing a Theft Charge? Contact Our Office Today
If you are facing a theft charge, you will require the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will fight zealously on your behalf. Theft crime consequences can be harsh, so do not hesitate to contact our office for support. We are here to fight for you.
Contact us online or call us via (304) 867-0049 to set up an appointment.