Home burglaries down, motor vehicle thefts up during stay-at-home orders

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Memphis Police Department patrol car

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Stay-at-home orders stemming from the coronavirus response likely have affected the number of burglaries, auto thefts and domestic violence incidents reported in Shelby County and Memphis, officials said.

Public safety officials in Memphis released crime figures for the first three months of this year on Monday.

The report included data for March, when Memphis and Shelby County officials issued stay-at-home orders and closed nonessential businesses.

Home burglaries dropped by 24% countywide, compared with the first quarter of 2019.

“This may be attributable to a significant number of citizens staying at home in March,” the report said.

Motor vehicle thefts increased 22% countywide in the first quarter. Vehicle thefts tend to rise when schools aren’t in session, officials said.

Reports of domestic violence in the county in March were down 9% compared with the same month last year.

Bill Gibbons, president of the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission, said domestic violence victims may feel it is “unsafe to call 911 with perpetrators remaining close by in the home and with no alternative places to go for safety.”

“Even under difficult circumstances, victims should always try to safely seek help,” Gibbons said.

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