How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted crime in Central PA?

Coronavirus

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – While it varies for different areas and crime categories, Pennsylvania State Police and local police departments agree that for the most part, people are staying in and staying out of trouble.

“Pennsylvania State Police has noticed an overall 60% or higher reduction in total criminal offenses, property crimes, crashes, DUI arrests,” said Trooper Brent Miller, the director of the Communications Office for the Pennsylvania State Police.

Last year, between April 1 and April 12, PSP issued nearly 16,000 citations.

This year, troopers gave more than 2,000.

Crime rates are down, but calls for service are up.

“Total calls for service is not necessarily someone contacting the Pennsylvania State Police,” said Trooper Miller.

Pre-COVID-19, troopers had about 20,500 calls per week.

Last week, they answered almost 37,000 calls.

That’s because included in those calls are interactions, like helping drivers on the road or checking grocery stores and essential businesses.

“We want to be a visible presence to the public to let them know that we are there for them if they need us,” said Trooper Miller.

Local police departments have noticed fewer issues too, with some variances.

York City police have seen numbers consistent with this time last year, but officers say mental health calls have gone up, as well as overdoses and drug use.

Harrisburg police have also seen a jump in mental health calls, but haven’t answered to as many overdoses or drug incidents.

Carlisle PD has counted fewer crashes and business-related calls, as expected. Domestic violence, overdoses, and thefts have slightly decreased too.

Lancaster police data shows while most violations are down, DUIs, thefts, and vandalism has increased, compared to this time in 2019.

In Chambersburg, crime across the board has decreased, including a noticeable drop in the reporting of sexual assaults.

“People are at home and people are behaving,” said Miller.

PSP says PennDOT has seen a 45% reduction in traffic flow on interstates across Pennsylvania, which has also impacted driving offenses.

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