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Pandemic-driven increases in crime

Many types of activities decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shopping at a store represented a certain level of risk. Countless restaurants embraced delivery and curbside pick-up options.

One activity, in particular, represented a respite of sorts for those victimized by criminal activity as rates cropped throughout most of the country.

An uptick in criminal activity

However, not all areas of the United States saw a decrease. One outlier, in particular, was Weld County, Colorado, where crime rose 32 percent in 2020.

Specific statistics revealed an increase of violent crimes from 160 in 2019 to 236 in 2020. Property crimes became very popular, representing a significant jump in all categories that include:

  • Motor vehicle theft – 234, up from 180
  • Fraud – 241, an increase from 184
  • Burglary – 151, increasing from 118
  • Theft – 511, an increase from 434

Data through May 31 of this year reveals little in the way of a slowdown in crime. Violent crimes are already up 17.5 percent, with motor vehicle theft skyrocketing 72.1 percent from 2020.

A statewide and nationwide problem

Weld’s increased crime rate reflected the entire state of Colorado. Every criminal category increased, excluding drunk driving, drug crimes, and sex offenses. Motor vehicle theft saw the most significant uptick, with nearly a 39 percent increase from 2019 to 2020. Violent crimes grew 6.5 percent during the same period.

The problem goes beyond one county in one state. Violent crimes overall serve as the most significant increase that includes a potentially unprecedented rise in murder rates. One sampling of all cities reveals 27 with an average murder rate of more than 30 percent in 2020.

As Colorado and the entire country emerges from the pandemic and the restrictions that came with it, the often-referred-to “new normal” could include more criminal activity.