Major cities across the country have seen a steep uptick in homicides. In the 50 largest cities, 3,612 homicides have been reported this year, up 24 percent from the first seven months of last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Experts blame the coronavirus lockdowns, which have shut down many institutions vital to societal order.
“Everything that society does that might shape public safety was turned upside-down during the pandemic,” Jens Ludwig, a professor at the University of Chicago and director of the school’s crime lab, told the Journal.
The pace of homicides also is increasing, suggesting that rising feelings of injustice and anti-police sentiment are major influences in the uptick.
In Chicago alone, 433 people had been murdered in 2020 as of July 26, The Wall Street Journal reported. A shocking 106 of those were in just the preceding 28 days.
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While homicides and gun violence are spiking, crimes including burglary and robbery have declined, according to the Journal.
One possible reason is that the coronavirus lockdowns, in effect, reduced the pool of possible victims for certain crimes. It’s harder to find a home to burglarize, for instance, when everyone is always home.
Conversely, the shutdown of institutions such as schools and churches, combined with the recent furor aimed at law enforcement, has emboldened violent criminals such as perpetrators of gun violence.
According to multiple news outlets, many police departments say gang violence is on the rise.
Do the benefits of lockdowns outweigh the costs?
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The Wall Street Journal reports that most homicides are occurring in low-income, largely black and Latino communities outside of city centers, not in the areas where anti-police protests and riots have been happening.
This isn’t surprising: These communities have been hit particularly hard by months of school closures, a disproportionate amount of job loss, and canceled church services.
Society’s shutdown left a dearth of positive structure in people’s lives, a situation that too often leads to violence.
Combine that with mounting civil unrest, a media pushing the left’s victim mentality, and enflamed racial tensions, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Across the country, cities and states have locked down to “slow the spread” of the coronavirus in the name of saving lives. However, these policies ignore the other consequences of shutting down large swaths of society.
The left often treats policy decisions as if they exist in a vacuum, rather than looking at the totality of the circumstances. This seems particularly true in the case of coronavirus policy.
Societal shutdown comes at a heavy price. Gun violence is rising. High unemployment has led to an increase in suicides and drug overdoses, according to Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, school closures take guaranteed meals from children, and a lack of social interaction makes it less likely someone will notice a child is being abused.
The lockdown might slow the spread of the virus, but at what cost?
Over 160,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus.
Yes, that’s a tragedy. But many more have lost their lives or suffered seriously due to the unintended consequences of policies governments enacted in the name of protecting people.
That’s a tragedy, too.
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