Coronavirus News: NYPD reports 20% drop in crime during COVID-19 emergency

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Crime in New York City was down 20% during the last two weeks of March, when the city declared a coronavirus emergency, the NYPD said Thursday.

Between March 12 and March 31, overall crime fell in every borough and within the transit system and across public housing.

In that two-week period, there was a 25% decrease in the number of murders (12 vs. 16); a 10% decrease in robberies (551 vs. 612); and a 37% decrease in grand larcenies (1,334 vs. 2,115).

Officials say the shift from the time the city declared a state of emergency is clear: From March 1 through March 11, overall index crime increased by 27.8% (2,934 vs. 2,296) when compared to the same period a year ago.

From March 12 through March 31, overall index crime decreased by 19.9% (3,740 vs. 4,670) when compared to the same period in 2019.

The NYPD is monitoring and responding to reported hate crimes and bias incidents resulting from fear and stigma related to COVID-19.

They say there are two motivating factors behind coronavirus-related incidents: The victim's race (anti-Asian) and the perception that they have the coronavirus (anti-disability).

Since the outbreak, the Hate Crime Task Force has investigated 11 cases where all the victims were Asian and targeted due to discrimination based on the coronavirus pandemic. To date, investigators have apprehended the wanted subjects in seven of these cases.

Highlights from this month's crime statistics:

--Murder is down 10.7% (67 vs. 75) for the first quarter of 2020 when compared to the first three months of 2019.

--Year-to-date, through March 31, domestic violence crime is down 0.6% (2,809 vs. 2,826); is down 15.3% (902 vs. 1,065) for the entire month of March; and is down 23.8% (539 vs. 707) over the two weeks from March 12 through March 31, compared to the same period last year.

--Arrests in domestic violence crimes are down 15.6% (3,104 vs. 3,678) for the 28-day period ending March 29.

--There were 56 shooting incidents in March 2019, compared to 56 shooting incidents in March 2020.

--New York City is experiencing a 12.4% increase in overall crimes for the First Quarter of 2020 (22,949 vs. 20,410).

--For the month of March, rape decreased by 37.3% (99 vs. 158). Rape continues to be underreported. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, please come forward. The NYPD Special Victims Division's 24-hour hotline is 212-267-RAPE (7273).

--Year-to-date, through March 29, citywide hate crimes are down 20.0% (90 v. 112).

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