According to police, a least 254 businesses were targeted between March 12 - when an emergency order was issued by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio - and March 31. During the same period last year, there were 145 burglaries.
“What we are seeing is that criminals are specifically targeting cash businesses, supermarkets and bodegas,” said NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri, according to the New York Post.
“The opportunities are in a different place. There’s a lot less happening during the day, for example a lot less trucks are getting robbed. The burglaries we are seeing now are more organized and specifically targeted. There’s much more nighttime entry, more forced entry, individuals breaking locks to get into businesses while they are closed,” LiPetri explained.
Thieves are stealing currency and electronics as well as food, alcohol and retail goods by breaking down doors, climbing in from rooftops or breaking windows. According to LePetri, police are actively working with business owners to prevent burglaries and send additional resources when needed. Some businesses have even boarded up their storefronts.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, major felonies, such as rapes, murders and assaults, fell by nearly 20% from March 12 through March 31 this year when compared to data from last year.
New York has confirmed more than 130,000 COVID-19 cases, and almost 5,000 people have died as a result of the disease, according to Worldometer. The death toll is so high in New York City that the government is considering resorting to temporary burials in trenches dug in parks as city and hospital morgues quickly exceed capacity.