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Will COVID-19 Layoffs Lead to a Spike in Crime?


In certain areas of law, attorneys are already seeing the writing on the wall. COVID-19 puts our health and safety at risk, but it also pours into other aspects of people’s lives. Stay-at-home orders, for example, are forcing families to stay indoors together and as a result, domestic violence calls across the nation have surged. As we speak, divorce attorneys are bracing themselves for a spike in divorce filings once quarantines are lifted. But there’s more.

COVID-19 has led to mass unemployment across the country. As such, people are expected to file bankruptcy and use Chapter 13 to save their home from foreclosure after foreclosure freezes are lifted by state lawmakers. And that’s still not all there is to the story. Whenever mass amounts of people are laid off, it’s not unusual for the unemployment to translate into an increase in crime.

What is Your Occupation?

What do you do for a living? Do you work at a gym or a hair salon, or are you a server or are you a healthcare worker, a tax preparer, or a semi-truck driver? You may not realize it, but what you do for a living could be the one thing that stands between you and a life of crime.

This is what a recent article in Fast Company reported: “According to a new study of 1 million laid-off Norwegians over 15 years, out-of-work people commit 60% more property crimes (such as theft, shoplifting, burglary, and vandalism) in the year after losing work and have 20% more criminal charges than when employed.”

“These are huge numbers, and very relevant as U.S. workers face layoffs nationwide in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote the author of the article, Arianne Cohen. The researchers of the study determined the crime sprees were the result of 1) too much free time and, 2) psychological stressors, such as frustration and worrying about money. As a result of the unemployment, the main crimes committed were:

When people are facing unemployment because of the coronavirus, they can find themselves doing things they wouldn’t normally do when employed. They may steal food to feed their families. They may break into homes to sell items to pay their rent. And emotions may run high and couples may get into fights, resulting in domestic violence calls.

If you’re facing criminal charges because COVID-19 was behind your criminal behavior, we urge you to contact The Alband Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.