The holidays are a stressful time, especially this year with so many facing an uncertain future. On top of that, COVID shutdowns are causing crime to spike all over the country, especially in major cities. Chicago is among the major U.S. cities that have seen spikes in crime during the quarantine. Meanwhile, economic recessions, counterintuitively, cause crime rates to go down.
But COVID has not behaved like an economic recession. In fact, the situation we are still enduring is unprecedented in the last 100 years. Still, the question remains: Why is crime spiking when fewer people are on the street?
Mental Health Issues
One possible reason for the spike in crime involves worsening mental health issues. In the incident mentioned above, a man who was hosting Thanksgiving dinner was stabbed to death when he attempted to force one of the guests out of the house after he stuck his hands in the leftovers. Of course, this is not sanitary during a pandemic or ever.
A heated argument ensued after Vincell Jackson attempted to remove James Dixon from his Thanksgiving festivities. Dixon responded by stabbing Jackson nine times. Dixon had consumed numerous alcoholic beverages prior to the stabbing.
Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, Mental Illness, and COVID
While violent crime and murder tend to go down during recessions, COVID has behaved the opposite way. One possible reason for this is that folks are drinking and doing drugs at a much higher rate than they were prior to COVID. Those who would typically receive mental health services are required to keep appointments by phone, are not going to meetings, and do not have the same support structure around them. This causes a situation where the pressure of their illness builds to a head and they are a danger to themselves and others.
Recessions behave differently. Why? No one really knows. Murder, car theft, and other major crimes go down during recessions while suicide rates go up. COVID has caused a spike in both murder and suicide rates, especially in Japan where it was recently reported that the number of suicides in October surpassed the COVID death toll for the entire country. While the statistics for 2020 have yet to be tabulated, early evidence shows that suicide rates are higher than 2019, when they were already rising.
What is Going on?
The stress of the pandemic is likely forcing more people into “survival mode,” which shifts brain processing away from the prefrontal cortex into other more primitive areas of the brain. This makes it difficult to remember and the brain can enter psychosis perceiving major threats where there are none. Any kind of survival stress, including the collective trauma of a pandemic, can ignite “survival mode,” causing serious delusions with an overarching sense of terror and fear for one’s own life. Not a good combo.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a serious crime in the Chicago area, call the criminal defense attorney David Freidberg at (312) 560-7100 today to learn more about how we can protect your future from criminal prosecution.