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How the Coronavirus Is Affecting Crime

Certain crimes are down, but a murder-suicide makes headlines in Chicago
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2020 3:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Police say a Chicago man killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself because he believed they both had the coronavirus, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Officers found Patrick Jesernik, 54, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59, on Thursday night, lying dead in their home on Bruce Road. Family told them Jesernik was worried his wife had the virus after she got tested two days before and said she was struggling to breathe, police say. But family members say they didn't think the test results were in. An autopsy found the pair died of gunshot wounds to the head and neither had COVID-19, the Chicago Tribune reports. In related news:

  • Crime rates: A USA Today analysis of crime data finds that crime is way down across two dozen states—but not all crime. Traffic and person stops have plummeted up to 92%, and thefts and burglaries have fallen, but domestic-disturbance and violence calls are up by 10% to 30%.
  • Baltimore: Property crime, car thefts, and larcenies have plunged by half in Baltimore, but gun deaths remain unchanged with 18 fresh homicides in March, the Baltimore Sun reports. "We talk about changing the culture, and that culture of violence out there doesn’t change because of a pandemic," says a police official.
  • The Big Apple: In New York City, overall crime is up for the first three months of 2020 due to a spike that preceded the outbreak, the New York Post reports. But March finished with a 4.2% drop in major crime, despite a steady stream of car thefts and burglaries.
  • Racist assaults: At least two anti-Asian incidents are getting media attention. CBS New York reports that three teens are facing charges for allegedly attacking a woman on a bus and making anti-Asian slurs, while Fox News reports on a man accused of stabbing three Asians at a Texas supermarket—including a 6-year-old and 2-year-old child—because he believed they were "infecting people with the coronavirus," the FBI says.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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