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Opinion

Blame lockdowns, not COVID-19, for America’s crime wave

Feb 09, 2023

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Homicide rates spiked 30% during COVID-19. Auto thefts increased significantly during the summer of 2020. There was a 15% increase in firearm-related violence. Some, however, question whether COVID was the cause.

Straight Arrow News contributor Tim Carney says we should blame lockdowns, not COVID, for America’s crime wave.

COVID didn’t cause a spike in violent crime. Lockdowns caused the spike in violent crime. Closing schools, community centers, sports leagues, and libraries, while breaking up pickup basketball games and scaring everyone into staying home, didn’t merely lead to boredom and loneliness, it led to an epidemic of assaults, carjackings, and murders. The causality is clear when we look at the details of the crime wave.

The prototypical post-lockdown crime in DC is a carjacking by a teenager. Carjackings in DC quadrupled over the pandemic and two thirds of those arrested for carjackings were teenagers. What were they after? A joyride, it seems.

“I honestly believe it’s a game,” carjacking victim Tariq Majeed told The New York Times. Majeed explained to the Times that in the old days, carjackers sold the cars to chop shops who stripped the cars for parts, but “now people are carjacked and the cars are often found afterwards crashed or just left on the street.”

The crimes that are climbing are not crimes of opportunity or crimes of desperation. They are thoroughly pointless, antisocial crimes. In 2021 assaults went up and murders went up. Robberies followed in 2022. But overall, the crime wave is a story of bored, aimless kids seeking to feel something in a world where they’ve been robbed of normal human interaction and deprived of the habits of neighborliness and empathy.

Masks don’t help either. Masks are antisocial, preventing people from knowing their neighbors or seeing the passers-by as a fellow human. Many introverted journalists actually praised this aspect of masks in 2020, happy that their face coverings protected them from chatty neighbors.

But dehumanizing the people around us makes us less social, and normalizing masks emboldens the lawless. The virus itself left awful carnage in the U.S. and around the world. But our response to the virus, most of all, locking children down and depriving them of friendship, learning and community is still taking its toll in cities around the country.

While President Biden delivered his State of the Union address in the US Capitol, there was a carjacking less than 10 blocks southwest of there. There was a dead body found in the bathroom of Union Station, which is five blocks from the Capitol. And there was a shooting in southeast DC within sight of the dome. It was a typical night in the years long crime wave in Washington DC. And the same thing is happening in cities all over America. In his speech, Biden named the cause of this crime wave.

That’s almost correct. But COVID didn’t cause a spike in violent crime. lockdowns caused the spike in violent crime. closing schools, community centers, sports leagues and libraries. While breaking up pickup basketball games and scaring everyone into staying home didn’t merely lead to boredom and loneliness. It led to an epidemic of assaults, carjackings, and murders. The causality is clear when we look at the details of the crime wave.

The prototypical post lockdown crime in DC is a carjacking by a teenager. carjackings in DC quadrupled over the pandemic and two thirds of those arrested for carjackings were teenagers. What were they after? A Joyride, it seems.

Quote, I honestly believe it’s a game, carjacking victim Tariq Majeed told The New York Times, Majeed explained to the Times that in the old days, carjackers sold the cars to chop shops who stripped the cars for parts, but quote, now people are carjacked and the cars are often found afterwards crashed or just left on the street.

The crimes that are climbing are not crimes of opportunity or crimes of desperation. They are thoroughly pointless antisocial crimes in 2021 assaults went up and murders went up. Robberies followed in 2022. But overall, the crime wave is a story of bored aimless kids seeking to feel something in a world where they’ve been robbed of normal human interaction and deprived of the habits of neighborliness and empathy.

Masks don’t help either. Masks are antisocial, preventing people from knowing their neighbors or seeing the passers by as a fellow human. Many introverted journalists actually praise this aspect of masks in 2020, happy that their face coverings protected them from chatty neighbors.

But dehumanizing the people around us makes us less social, and normalizing masks embolden so lawless. The virus itself left awful carnage in the U.S. and around the world. But our response to the virus, most of all, locking children down and depriving them of friendship, learning and community is still taking its toll in cities around the country.

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