The coronavirus recession and how it could affect crime rates


A man walks past a closed business, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Increased gun violence has kept police officers in Albany and Troy busy during the past month. With the closure of small businesses and a struggling economy, especially in poor neighborhoods, there is research to suggest losing businesses could cause violence to increase.

Business Insider said small businesses employ half of the work force in America. They are also the most vulnerable to going under because they lack the reserve funds necessary to recover from being closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier in the year a Stewart’s Shop, located on the corner of Sixth and Glen avenues in Troy’s North End, closed stating increased costs and the inability to expand as the reason for the closure. Last week Troy Police responded to reports of a drive-by shooting on Sixth Avenue, down the block from where old Stewart’s Shop location.

News10 ABC looked for research to find out if there was a relationship between increased crime and the closure of businesses. Much research has been done on the topic, but the cyclic nature of crime makes the study of this relationship complicated.

Changing variables including blight, socio-economic status of residents, and the level of disadvantage in neighborhoods all have an impact on the level of crime, according to research from the University at California Irvine. However, the report said there is clear evidence bars and liquor stores can increase violence.

Increased violence can keep retail stores from opening in theses neighborhoods which perpetuate an environment conducive to violence.

Neighborhoods with higher rates of crime experienced a decrease in general retail
activity and an increase in the presence of bar and liquor store employees. Crime likely
makes a neighborhood undesirable in general, chasing off desirable retail outlets, and leading to an influx of potentially undesirable ones such as liquor stores. At the same time, there
was some evidence that the presence of bars and liquor stores generates more crime over
time, suggesting a reinforcing process in which these businesses induce a downward cycle in

A Dynamic View of Neighborhoods:
The Reciprocal Relationship between
Crime and Neighborhood Structural

By John Hipp, University at California Irvine

More recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study in Los Angeles to find out what happened to crime after the closure of medical marijuana dispensaries (MMD)and restaurants. Contrary to the belief that MMD’s caused crime in the areas where they operated, what researchers found was an increase in crime once MMD’s were closed. The same was true when restaurants closed.

Unfortunately, with state officials like the State Comptroller saying it could take years for New York to finacially recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the state may also face an increased period of violence in places where small businesses disappear.

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