The Pandemic Impacts Local Crime Rates, for Better and Worse

On Thursday, August 6, District E-13 of the Boston Police Department (BPD) presented its monthly virtual police and community relations meeting, where it showed how the COVID-19 pandemic may be influencing crime rates.

In attendance were Capt. John Greland, Officer William Jones and members of the public. This was Capt. Greland’s last meeting since he is due to retire at the end of the month.

Officer Jones shared the local crime statistics for the month of July compared to July of 2019. The differences, he noted, could be attributed to the pandemic.

Residential burglaries and package thefts were all down from last year, which he said could be because more people are at home than last year. Also experiencing a reduction was nondomestic assault, possibly because of social distancing measures that keep would-be rivals from encountering each other in public.

However, there was a spike in thefts from vehicles, which Officer Jones suggested may be due to people not securing their vehicles when running quick errands around town. Commercial burglary was also up as many places of business are closed. Finally, domestic assault saw an increase, possibly linked to more couples in social isolation.

Officer Jones commented that the rate of robberies (muggings) was “pretty good for a summer month”, especially considering the economic crisis and the fact that many more people are out of work.

He reported that, for the most part, the community was taking COVID-19 safety precautions seriously. He cited a weekly barbeque at the Mildred Hailey apartment complex where residents pick up meals to take back to their homes. The event uses handwashing stations, social distancing and safe food preparation.

District E-13 continues to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19 among its officers and staff through the use of masks, handwashing and work stations being spaced apart. Handwashing stations located outside of the station are generally stocked, though one resident said she had witnessed them empty.

The police and community relations meeting is held on the first Thursday of the month at 6:30pm. To join the meeting, go to and enter the meeting code hgf-fdjq-cui. You can also join the meeting by phone by dialing 1-720-507-3856 and entering the code 724 468 894 followed by the pound or hashtag sign.

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