Crime Trends Change During COVID-19 Restrictions
Governor Evers signed the "Safer At Home" order back in late March, and since then several law enforcement agencies in our area have noticed different trends in criminal activity.
"At first I would say they declined. I think people were being extra cautious about every part of their life,” Oneida County Sheriff's Office Patrol Captain Tyler Young said. “My goal is to not fill up my jail at any point in time. I think people are starting to relax and get back into what they normally would do and that includes criminal activity. Typically we could be booking seven to eight people a night into the Oneida County Jail. For a period of time we were going nights without booking anybody, but now we’re getting to the three to five range per night.”
Portage County has seen a 50% decrease, but the numbers are beginning to rise there as well.
"We had a couple car chases which is not common in Portage County. Generally this time of year we see an increase in property crimes because of the weather like burglaries and thefts," Portage County Sheriff's Office Captain of Operations Josh Ostrowski said.
Wood County has seen about a 10% increase in disturbance calls and welfare checks.
"In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen an uptick in welfare checks and some domestic disturbances,” Wood County Sherrif Shawn Becker said. "We've had about 39 disturbance calls and almost 30 welfare checks.
Wausau PD is reporting a decrease in crimes that include things like theft, miscellaneous crimes, and reported domestic abuse calls. However, traffic crashes can potentially lead to crimes like fleeing a scene or a fight breaking out.
"Our traffic crashes, they’re down significantly about 70% over the last month to month and a half,” Wausau PD Chief of Police Benjamin Bliven said.
Law enforcement agencies are encouraging people to push through the "Safer At Home" order and avoid criminal activity.