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COVID: As crime rates drop, domestic, sexual offense rates rise

CM 11/04/2021

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As the coronavirus forced Israelis to stay at home, crime levels dropped in 2020 with the lowest number of criminal cases opened for dozens of years, Israel Hayom reported Sunday. Rates of domestic violence and sexual offenses, however, increased, according to the report.There was an 11.6% spike in domestic offenses, with 25,747 cases opened in 2020 compared to 23,077 in 2019, according to Israel Hayom‘s report. Police told Israel Hayom that this increase took place primarily during Israel’s coronavirus lockdowns.There were 6,139 cases of sexual offenses reported to police in 2019 compared to 5,936 in 2019 the report stated. Police say the rise was primarily in sexual offenses that do not require physical contact between the parties, such as online harassment.Domestic violence, especially violence towards women, tends to spike in times of crisis, according to a Knesset report released in November that addressed the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus lockdowns, and their psychological, economic and social repercussions could be responsible for a spike in violence against women, according to the report.The total number of criminal cases opened in 2020 was 287,127 compared to 300,666 in 2019, 301,149 in 2018 and 330,294 in 2017, the Israel Hayom report stated. The pandemic saw decreases in various types of criminal offenses including robbery, business break-ins and thefts from cars. Violent crime and car thefts rose from 2019. The discrepancy in crime trends may serve to emphasize problems caused by the coronavirus that Israel’s government is already attempting to tackle. The vast majority of victims of sexual offenses are women and a Knesset report published in March called for the integration of gender perspective in coronavirus policy. “Various international bodies – including the UN, the OECD and the European Parliament – are calling for the adoption of a gender-sensitive approach in shaping crisis management policies and strategies; an approach that takes into account the inequalities and gender gaps that have intensified during the crisis,” read the report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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