Crime rates in Wake, Durham counties almost unchanged during COVID-19 pandemic

With the state under a stay-at-home order due to the novel coronavirus, in comparison to last year, crime rates have not been impacted nearly as much as one might think.

ABC11 took a look from when from March,17, when Gov. Roy Cooper first ordered restaurants, to close in-store dining to the end of the month.

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Data shows crime rates in Wake and Durham counties have remained almost unchanged and the impacts are quite low but with a few exceptions: commercial break-ins have ticked up in some areas.

According to statistics provided by the Raleigh Police Department, in comparison to last year, Raleigh's crime rates has decreased as well, but not by very much.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office said there were five commercial burglaries during that time period, compared to one during the same time period last year.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office reported three commercial breaking and entering incidents, compared to one last year.

"Our deputies are out, increasing visibility in the business district and the residential areas," Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead said. "We know that some of the businesses are closed. So that makes them a bit more vulnerable. So we're out being visible, increasing our patrols."

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said the county is seeing an impact, incident reports are down 22 percent in that time period. Calls for service are down 18 percent.

"Crime in Nash County has dropped," Sheriff Stone said. "But obviously I think the people of Nash County are taking this COVID-19 very seriously and they're staying home. It's a good thing that the criminals must be staying home too."

With folks hunkering down at home, Sheriff Stone said they're seeing less residential break-ins.

"People are home and it's hard to break into a house when people are home," Sheriff Stone said.

Despite the lack of break-ins, he is concerned about domestic violence cases going up.

Sheriff Birkhead said they haven't seen any violent crime during that time period. He also said they're scaling back on traffic and parking enforcement to limit contact between deputies and the public.

"We don't want to be out, stopping a lot of vehicles if it's not necessary," Sheriff Birkhead said.

Hillsborough Police Lt. Davis Trimmer said they're seeing fewer items being stolen from people's yards or sheds since more people are home but that the overall crime numbers have stayed about the same.

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Due to the recent malware attack, Durham Police was unable to provide crime data.

Keep in mind, we are still in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may take longer to see the true impact the crisis will have on crime.
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