Robberies dropped, fights between roommates spiked: How quarantine affected crime in Colorado | SummitDaily.com
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Robberies dropped, fights between roommates spiked: How quarantine affected crime in Colorado

Kevin Simpson & Jennifer Brown
The Colorado Sun
Denver police motorcycles parked outside of the Colorado Capitol in Denver on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.
Jesse Paul / The Colorado Sun

Nobody knew how the coronavirus, with its historic stay-at-home order from the governor, would influence and inspire crime across Colorado.

No previous period, no critical incident, offered much in the way of clues to how law breaking would evolve — how conditions would reshape the ways people interacted in close quarters; how violence might erupt under stress and economic anxiety; how the cloistering of citizens in their homes would create vacuums of illicit opportunity elsewhere.

But as municipal and county law enforcement statistics from the first phase of Colorado’s response to the pandemic emerge, a few trends have begun to take shape, according to numbers reported by a sampling of jurisdictions. Crimes “against society” — offenses like drugs, gambling and prostitution — dropped in several areas, and traffic crashes dipped, too.

In general, crimes against people were down during the stay-at-home period — unless those people lived in the same home. In other words, there were fewer robberies but law enforcement noted more assaults among roommates. Another trend: While overall burglaries remained relatively flat, the targets shifted from homes to closed-down businesses. 

Some in law enforcement saw that one coming. 

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