Law enforcement makes adjustments to accommodate safety during COVID-19 outbreak

Published: Apr. 6, 2020 at 6:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County has not seen a spike in crime as some communities have during the Coronavirus pandemic.

There have been reports that many communities have seen a spike in domestic violence and property crimes.

We don’t seen a significant spike up in domestic violence of property crime,” Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said. “We just don’t see that trending up.”

But that doesn’t mean it won’t in the near future as people here become more stressed as the pandemic stretches on for weeks or months.

“It’s a logical assumption as we get further down the road and the economic impacts of this crisis become more pronounced for families and for business owners,” he said. “That will increase social stress.”

There have been unsubstantiated reports of people being robbed or mugged while standing in line to get groceries or to pick grocery orders.

But Napier has not heard of that happening. Neither has the Tucson Police Department.

In an email response, TPD says it has officers patrolling grocery stores and other essential services, especially when stores are just opening to provide services for the elderly. It’s for a visual presence to make everyone feel more comfortable.

TPD also says it has continencies in place which could be deployed if, in fact, there is a spike in crime.

Napier says his department meets every morning at 9:00 a.m. to go over the past 24 hours. If there was a spike it would be noticed almost immediately and acted on.

“We’re monitoring this very actively and so any uptick will be apparent to us to very early so that we can respond,” he said.

Napier also says the stress level is an issue the department must watch because officers are dealing with an “unseen enemy that we’ve not been trained for.”

“It’s a challenge we’ve never faced before, we’ve never talked about before,” he said. “Three months ago nobody knew what social distancing was, it was not part of our vernacular.”

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