Law Enforcement Sees a Drop in Crime During Coronavirus Pandemic

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If there is any silver lining to the shelter-at-home order, it appears there’s a drop in crime. But fewer criminals doesn’t necessarily mean a safer day at work for law enforcement. 

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday that a fourth deputy tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday. Three of them are jail officers and one patrol officer. 

“We are still out there, deputies are still patrolling,” said Sgt. Michael Low. “Whether it’s on the streets or working in our jail facilities. We are still going to proactively go out there and enforce the law. However, we may be less proactive when it comes to minor violations.”

The sheriff’s office says that strategy has limited exposure and also led to a drop in crime.

San Jose police adopted the same approach and provided crime figures that seem to support that connection.

For example, the week when the stay-at-home order went into effect, violent crime dropped almost by half from a year ago. Property crimes fell by about 180 cases and burglaries went from 75 to 47.

Law enforcement agencies emphasize it still responds to urgent calls. 

“They’re only gonna come out for extreme emergency situations, so people are trying to avoid that kind of situation,” said security officer Jerry Rugh.

Officers ask the public to warn them if someone involved in a call is ill or shows any symptoms.

“So that our deputies can properly prepare, glove up, gown up and make sure they are safe first and foremost before they respond to a call,” said Low. “However, we will still respond to the call.”

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