Crime surged amid George Floyd protests in parts of US

Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York have seen uptick in certain crimes

Parts of the nation have seen a surge in certain crimes amid protests and riots that flared in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

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Cities including Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, as well as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, have seen an uptick in burglaries, shootings and even, in some cases, murders.

Floyd, a black man, died after he was pinned to the pavement on May 25 by a white Minneapolis police officer who put his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe.

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Protests have been held in cities and towns around the world calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. But public and elected officials have said the protests have devolved in some cases into organized riots, and some opportunists have used the diverted police attention as a chance to commit crimes.

The racial tensions and political climate have also prompted attacks on police in parts of the nation.

Multiple high-ranking police officials in a number of cities, including Boston, Washington, Atlanta and New York have had their personal information shared on social media, including their home addresses, email addresses and phone numbers, the Department of Homeland Security recently warned.

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Law enforcement personnel patrol downtown Paso Robles, Calif., as law enforcement agencies responded to an early-morning shooting after a sheriff's deputy was wounded early June 10, 2020. (David Middlecamp/The Tribune of San Luis Obispo via AP)

In Las Vegas, a 29-year-old officer reportedly remains on life support after he was shot on June 2, as police tried to disperse a large crowd of protesters in front of a casino shuttered because of the novel coronavirus.

Early Wednesday morning, a California sheriff's deputy was shot in the head but survived an “ambush” by a gunman intent on harming or killing police and authorities said that night.

The shooter opened fire around 3:45 a.m. on the back side of the police station in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said. Officers were inside at the time and windows and a door were shot out but no one was injured.

After wounding the San Luis Obispo County deputy in the small city of Paso Robles, police believe the shooter killed a transient and then eluded an intense manhunt.

More details on California's crime trends are outlined below. And here is how crime looks in other parts of the nation:

MINNEAPOLIS

A looter uses a claw hammer as he tries to break in to a cash register at a Target store in Minneapolis. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

Minneapolis saw five times more shootings between when civil unrest began in the wake of Floyd’s death and June 4th than the same time last year, the Star Tribune reported. Nineteen people were shot and two people were killed during the period. In one fatal shooting, Calvin L. Horton Jr. was gunned down by a white pawnshop owner outside the store on the night of May 27.

Horton, a 43-year-old black man, is believed to have been the first person to die since the protests broke out.

Minneapolis police received just over 130 shots-fired calls and found six people shot in the 24 hours leading up to Saturday, May 30, alone, according to the report.

Minneapolis Police Department Crime Data shows 250 burglaries reported between May 26 and June 1, a 220.5 percent increase, or 172 more than the total two weeks earlier. Between June 2 and June 8, 148 burglaries were reported.

CHICAGO

A person cleans up items outside a Jewel grocery store Monday, June 1, 2020, in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, after the business was broken into during unrest in reaction to the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Windy City recently saw its deadliest 24-hour period in roughly 60 years, with 18 people killed on May 31, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Over the course of that weekend, 24 people were killed and at least 61 others were wounded, deeming it Chicago’s most violent weekend of the year so far, the Sun-Times reported.

Violent protests Saturday night ultimately led to hundreds of arrests and a curfew.

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The victims included an 18-year-old woman shot in the head late Sunday on the West Side and two men, ages 39 and 31, shot in the head Sunday in Calumet Heights on the South Side when someone in an SUV pulled up and opened fire on their vehicle, police said.

In Chicago's South Side, as well as other parts of the city and the nation, some people began orchestrating heists.

In one instance, groups of thieves struck a series of big box stores on May 31, while periodically calling 911 to falsely report that a mall several miles away was being ransacked, Alderman Ray Lopez told The Associated Press.

By the time police rushed to the mall to find no one there, the thieves had moved on to another large store — and phoned in additional false reports to again shake police off their trail.

“It was a game of whack-a-mole,” Lopez said.

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In other instances, caravans of 10 or more cars would pull up to a store, smash the windows, then wait nearby to see if police would arrive. If they didn’t, some of the same cars would return to load up with goods and speed off.

LOS ANGELES AND OAKLAND

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Department reported that the number of murders had skyrocketed by 250 percent between May 31 and June 6, while the number of shooting victims surged by 56 percent, according to a post on the agency’s Twitter account.

Meanwhile, city law enforcement officials ruled they would not charge protesters who were arrested for violating curfew and other police orders.

Prosecutors said they would keep pursuing charges for looting, burglary, vandalism and any violence. As of Monday, more than 60 people had already been charged with felonies related to the protests, the majority for looting.

And to the north in Oakland, a federal officer was providing security at a U.S. courthouse during a protest on the night of May 29 when someone fired shots from a vehicle. Dave Patrick Underwood, 53, died and another officer was critically wounded.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the drive-by shooting was related to the protests, though the federal building’s glass doors were smashed and the front entrance was sprayed with anti-police graffiti.

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Underwood, who was black, and the other officer were contracted security officers employed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service. They were monitoring a nearby protest.

Underwood was the brother of Angela Underwood Jacobs, recently a Republican candidate to fill a vacant congressional seat north of Los Angeles.

The FBI is investigating whether the suspected shooter in Wednesday morning's attack on a sheriff's deputy has links to Underwood's killing.

NEW YORK CITY

People start fires along the SoHo shopping district on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

The New York Police Department recorded four times the number of burglaries citywide in the first week of June than it had the previous year. Between June 1 and June 7, the NYPD received 909 reports of burglaries – a 402.2 percent increase from 2019’s 181, the police department’s crime records show.

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According to the New York Post, NYPD officials recorded the highest number of 911 calls of burglaries during that week on June 1, when more than 2,300 calls were made.

Murders also surged in that same period, in this case by 160 percent, from 5 in 2019 to 13 this year. The number of shooting victims increased from 30 people shot last year to 48 in 2020.

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Meanwhile, members of the NYPD were attacked for at least the second time this week on Wednesday night, when, according to police, two officers were shot at while sitting in a marked police car in Queens, Fox News reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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