Spartanburg, SC (WSPA) – Our coverage of the Coronavirus continues and we where wondering how the new ‘stay at home’ order is affected crime rates in the upstate?
Law enforcement officers tells 7 News, while some calls are down because people are staying home, mental health crisis calls are on the rise. All while officers are still working to keep everyone safe, their daily work has shifted.
On the surface, it may appear to be business as usual for law enforcement agencies across the upstate, during the covid-19 crisis, but changes in behavior patterns are reflected in the calls they receive.
“Our calls for service are down about 15 percent, however some calls have increased and some have decreased.” City of Spartanburg Police, Major Art Littlejohn said.
Calls for police to check out home break-in’s, vandalism and even traffic accidents have dramatically decreased because more people are at home and fewer cars are on the roads, but calls for runaways have gone up at least in Spartanburg’s city limits.
“Parents are coming home and the child is gone I guess cause they want to see their friends, so whatever it is, we have had an increase in the number of runaway calls.” Littlejohn said.
With the governor issuing an executive order to close non-essential businesses like restaurants, clubs and bars, fewer gatherings means some issues never have a chance to occur.
“So none family member assaults have actually decreased because people are not out and about.” Littlejohn said.
While some police departments, like Greer are reporting and increase in domestic violence calls for Spartanburg police say, those numbers have decreased, Major Littlejohn has a theory.
“People who commit domestic violence crimes they gonna do that whether or not they’re working or at home anyway.” Littlejohn said.
The calls for non-compliance to social – distancing are on the rise, people are watching and reporting.
“When people see people gathering they are calling us to say hey, this business they’re not practicing that.” Littlejohn said.
Covid-19 even changing daily operations for officers, at least in Spartanburg. Roll-call is done on a conference call or by video Zoom.
Officers have laptops to work on paper work while in their cars, keeping officers in neighborhoods and close to the public.