Since the novel coronavirus arrived in the United States, it has devastated our country. To date, just under 27 million Americans have been infected with this disease – and over 460,000 Americans have died. The pandemic has also caused economic turmoil, as more than 22 million people lost their jobs.
COVID-19 has affected our lives in other ways as well. From 2019 to 2020, the level of crime in Cincinnati and the number of traffic crashes each dropped significantly. These numbers show that for all of the challenges associated with the pandemic, there were some positive things to come out of it.
Because this pandemic is unprecedented in modern history, it was difficult to know at the start just how it would affect crime rates. In Cincinnati, the total number of criminal incidents dropped by 8% from 2019 to 2020. In 2019, there were a total of 36,279 incidents reported to the police, compared to 33,536 in 2020.
Surprisingly, despite the financial strain that many Americans found themselves in because of COVID-19, theft and related crimes decreased in 2020. Specifically, there were fewer of the following property crimes in 2020, as compared to 2019:
|TAKING THE IDENTITY OF ANOTHER||467||420||-10%|
|UNAUTHORIZED USE OF MOTOR VEHICLE||325||272||-16%|
|MISUSE OF CREDIT CARD||111||101||-9%|
This data may indicate that because more Cincinnatians were staying home, there were fewer opportunities to engage in property crimes.
At the same time, certain types of violent crime increased in Cincinnati. There was a rise in a number of these offenses, including:
|BREAKING AND ENTERING||1,169||1,300||11%|
|VIOLATE PROTECTION ORDER/CONSENT AGREEMENT||202||318||57%|
|IMPROPERLY DISCHARGING FIREARM AT/INTO HABITATION/SCHOOL||296||433||46%|
|MENACING BY STALKING||36||55||53%|
The increase and decrease of certain crimes between 2019 and 2020 did not coincide with any particular month. In other words, crime levels did not rise or fall in Cincinnati when stay-at-home orders began, or when restrictions were loosened. Instead, they were consistently lower for most crimes throughout the year.
While shelter-in-place orders did not have a major impact on crime in Cincinnati, they did correlate with a lower level of traffic accidents. Overall, there was a sharp drop in motor vehicle accidents from 2019 (34,736 total) to 2020 (28,913). This represents a 17% decrease in the number of crashes in 2020.
The drop in the number of collisions was most significant in March, April, and May of 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions began. In March, the number of traffic accidents dropped by 30%, as compared to the same month in 2019. In April, there was a 55% decrease. In May, there was a 35% decrease.
As restrictions began to lift in June 2020, there were more accidents than in previous months. However, at every point throughout 2020, the total number of crashes either stayed the same as in 2019 (January 2020) or dropped by anywhere from 2% (July 2020) to 55% (April 2020).
These numbers are not particularly surprising, as experts predicted relatively early in the pandemic that stay-at-home orders would lead to a reduction in many of the issues facing our communities related to cars. With fewer vehicles on the road, traffic accidents decreased across the country – as did pollution from these cars, trucks, and SUVs.
While crime rates and the number of accidents in Cincinnati decreased in 2020, law enforcement officials are still investigating crimes, arresting suspects, and prosecuting individuals. If you are charged with a crime in the greater Cincinnati area, you need a criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights – and your freedom.
As former prosecutors, the legal team of Engel & Martin understands the Cincinnati criminal justice system. They put this knowledge – and their substantial trial experience – to work on a daily basis for their clients. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call us at 513-445-9600 or fill out our online contact form.