Since the statewide lockdown began in March, the pattern of crime reports in Athens has remained similar to that of past years, despite expectations that COVID-19 measures would lead to fewer crimes.
In March, the Athens Police Department received 130 crime reports, and the Ohio University Police Department received 40 crime reports.
Since March, APD crime reports were as follows: April, 105; May, 151; June, 170; July, 126; August, 151; September, 121; October, 188; November, 122.
OUPD’s crime reports during the same time period were as follows: April, 12; May, 37; June, 15; July, 21; August, 29; September, 43; October, 88; November, 21.
Neither APD or OUPD has an arrest or citation quota, representatives from both departments said.
OUPD Lt. Tim Ryan said in an email he expected crime reports to be lower due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there has been little change in the number of crime reports since March when the lockdown began.
Initially, there was a decrease in crime reports for both OUPD and APD, with APD’s crime reports decreasing from 130 to 105 and OUPD’s reports decreasing from 40 to 12 between March and April.
There was a gradual increase in reports until July when APD’s report numbers dropped from 170 the month before to 126. OUPD’s report numbers increased to 37 in May, followed by a decrease to 15 in June and 21 in July.
“It is typical for us to see the total number of crime reports rise and fall with the area population, so less people on and around campus typically leads to fewer reports of crime,” Ryan said in an email.
OUPD’s crime reports then continued to increase each month, making it all the way up to 88 reports in October, which could be attributed to Halloween. APD followed a dip-and-spike pattern up to October, when APD received 188 crime reports.
“Overall, our total calls for service (CFS) have been down slightly this year, however, I think it is only tangentially related to COVID,” APD Capt. Ralph Harvey said in an email.
He said investigating crime that has been committed has been made more difficult due to COVID-19 health restrictions.
“I think this will continue until society is able to get to a state that is a little closer to pre-pandemic normalcy,” Ryan said in an email.