A man shot and killed while serving divorce papers to his wife. Three children found dead, their mother the primary suspect. A man firing shots inside the main dance area of a club, then again outside, hitting and killing a woman.
These are just a few of the stories behind a dramatic rise in violent crimes during the first six months of 2020, according to Phoenix police.
Numbers from the Phoenix Police Department’s Crime Analysis and Research Unit show significant changes in January to June 2020 numbers compared to the same time period in 2019, according to a release
Homicides and aggravated assaults are each up more than 25%, police said. At the same time, rape, burglary and thefts all dropped.
“Putting a definitive stamp on the cause of crime rising or falling is impossible to do, but it’s clear the Covid-19 lockdown has changed the dynamics,” stated Sgt. Mercedes Fortune. “Fewer people on the streets and more people at home seems to have impacted these numbers.”
The trend is not unique to Phoenix. Police cited a Wall Street Journal article documenting the increase, finding homicides were up 24% in the nation’s 50 largest cities.
Domestic violence accounts for a large portion of the increase, police said. In the first half of 2019, in Phoenix there were 10 homicides tied to domestic violence. That number jumped to 24 in 2020, a 140% increase.
When looking at the numbers year-to-date, through Aug. 3, the situation becomes even more concerning. During that time, domestic violence related deaths jumped 180% over the same time period in 2019.
The city of Phoenix launched a “Domestic Violence Help!” campaign in April, after domestic violence calls began to increase following the world-wide pandemic.
Help for survivors is available, including the following:
The Family Advocacy Center: 602-534-2120, 2120 N. Central Ave. 2nd Floor, Phoenix
Find resources at www. phoenix.gov/DomesticViolence
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800 799-SAFE (7233)
Call or text 911 in an emergency
Aggravated assault covers a wide variety of violent acts including an attack where there is serious physical injury, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is used, or the suspect commits the assault after going into someone’s private home with the intent to hurt them.
Assaults are up 25%, police said. Guns are the weapon used by suspects in 42% of the cases. Knives were used in about 1 in 5 cases. The numbers are similar for suspects using a hand, fist or feet. In an additional 20% of cases, other items that might be commonly found in a house such as tools, construction items or sports equipment become a weapon causing injury.
Burglary numbers have been dropping steadily since 2011, according to police. The latest numbers reflect that continuing trend. If the trend continues for the rest of the year, burglaries will be down 18% over last year, and a whopping 58% from the 2011 peak.
The Phoenix Police Department posts a variety of crime statistics including Uniform Crime Reporting, bias crimes and crime hotspot maps. People can also can also view crime maps and neighborhood crime counts in their neighborhood or place of business through the interactive LexisNexis Community Crime Map hosted on the police department’s website.
The information about and stats are from a Phoenix Police Department release.