Despite concerns of lawlessness, Philadelphia crime drops in first week of social distancing

Not all crime is down: thefts of vehicles nearly doubled, the highest numbers the city has seen in almost a decade. Shootings, too, ticked up, but not past the expected ebbs and flows of violence in the city.

But the general trend was striking — other types of violent crime were down significantly, with aggravated assaults without a firearm down 35% from the average. Other assaults were down by 26% from the average week. Residential burglaries were also down by nearly a third. Thefts, too, mirrored the trend, down to 380 from an average of 500 a week.

One drop in particular pointed toward changes in police enforcement: drug and narcotic violations were a third of the average over the past year. Two weeks ago, the city reported 256 drug crime violations. Last week, it reported only 68.

On Wednesday, the department sent out its own statistical analysis, saying overall violent crimes and property crimes had decreased in the four-week period leading up to March 22 compared to the four weeks before that.

In the department’s memo, the police reported auto thefts as having decreased. It was not immediately clear why the department’s four-week analysis differed from The Inquirer’s analysis of last week. But The Inquirer found that thefts of vehicles spiked last week, particularly in the department’s Northeast districts.

The memo did detail various changes in assignments taken amid the pandemic, including redeploying some plainclothes officers from Internal Affairs to uniformed patrol, having narcotics officers monitor so-called crime hot spots, and assigning some officers to monitor shopping centers, as many businesses have closed or curtailed operations.

This content was originally published here.

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