The coronavirus pandemic caused many unintended consequences. Some of the consequences of a pandemic were expected, such as high rates of unemployment and overloads of our health care system. However, some consequences may not have been as apparent when the pandemic began.

While police officers throughout the country, including the Struthers Police Department, posted requests on social media asking criminals to stay at home, they may not have known that criminals may have been listening. The coronavirus appeared to slow criminal activity throughout the nation.

Some law enforcement officials appeared to be ready for a spike in crime rates as COVID-19 continued to plague the United States, but a crime wave never occurred. According to the Dayton Police Department, citywide crime fell more than 14 percent in April compared to April 2019. Drug violations decreased by almost 41 percent, and simple assaults decreased from 124 cases to 66 cases.

The decrease in crime may be partially to do with fears of the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders. With fewer people on the streets, there are fewer traffic stops, which also may have contributed to the decrease in drug charges. Many drug charges result from traffic stops.

Also, fewer people are interacting socially, which means there are fewer chances for conflicts to arise that can lead to a criminal charge.

There are precedents for the decrease in crime rates. During tough economic times, crime rates have decreased. Research shows that crime rates decreased between 2007 and 2010 during the recession.

However, while some crime rates dropped, there were increases in some types of crime. The police reported increases in violent crime. There were higher rates of aggravated assault, robbery, and motor vehicle theft compared to one year ago.

Domestic Violence Concerns During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When stay-at-home orders were issued, a concern for some government agencies was the potential for an increase in domestic violence crimes. Fear, anxiety, and economic hardship can create conditions that stimulate domestic violence. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that three months of quarantine could result in a 20 percent increase in intimate partner violence rates.

Reasons for the increase in domestic violence can be attributed to higher levels of isolation. Many victims have difficultly reporting domestic violence. However, when they are isolated because of stay-at-home orders, it becomes more difficult to report abuse because they have now where to go.

A lack of resources could also contribute to the increase. In normal circumstances, a victim of domestic violence may have several resources the person could access for help.

During the COVID-19 shutdown, some resources may not have been available. Without these resources, the victim may not have been able to seek help.

False Allegations of Domestic Violence During the Pandemic

Unfortunately, there may be an increase in false allegations of domestic abuse during the pandemic. A person may use domestic violence allegations to have an alleged offender removed from the home. The person may use the allegations of abuse to gain the upper hand in a divorce action or custody battle that the person anticipates filing when the courts reopen fully.

Whatever the reason may be, false allegations of domestic abuse can have serious consequences for the alleged abuser. Penalties for domestic abuse include fines, prison sentences, loss of the right to own firearms, and a criminal record. The allegations may lead to homelessness if the court requires the alleged abuser to move out, and the court may restrict access to the person’s children.

What to Do If You Are Accused of Domestic Violence

If you are accused of domestic violence, do not panic. You may be arrested in some cases or told to vacate the home.

If you are arrested, you need an attorney because making bail after a domestic abuse charge is more difficult since the passage of Amy’s Law. The law is intended to reduce the risk of a second assault by assessing the potential danger to the victim and others if you are released.

Do not try to explain your actions to the police. Talking to the police can make matters worse. They may use what you say to build a criminal case against you, as well as your statements could become part of a civil case.

As soon as possible, contact a domestic violence defense lawyer. Your lawyer can review the case to determine if your legal rights were violated.

An attorney can also review the potential defenses to domestic violence allegations and the steps you need to take to fight the domestic abuse allegations. You need an aggressive defense to allegations of domestic violence charges to avoid substantial criminal penalties and negative consequences for your daily life.