More crimes are going unsolved in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports the Wall Street Journal. NYPD records show that detectives and officers solved 26.3 percent of serious crimes in the second quarter of 2020, including murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries and thefts. The portion of such crimes solved by the NYPD fell by 26.5 percent compared with the same period in 2019, when officers and detectives solved 35.8 percent of those cases. The second quarter began April 1, just over two weeks after Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in response to the pandemic. The portion of crimes solved in the second quarter also fell compared with the previous quarter, before the virus struck, when 31.7 percent of such crimes were solved.
Officials have cited a number of factors that have complicated investigations, including large numbers of officers missing work due to sickness. They also listed staffing changes necessitated by officers’ response to large-scale demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd. The department’s second-quarter figures showed a 50.9 percent clearance rate for murders. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said he is more concerned about keeping occurrences of crimes low than with clearing criminal cases. Joseph Pollini, a former NYPD lieutenant commander and adjunct lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said fewer solved cases and arrests can negatively affect efforts to deter crime. “There’s a probability that the person is going to go out and commit more crimes,” he said. Violent crime in New York City has increased during the pandemic as the number of arrests has fallen.