Overall crime is the United States is down, with some big cities reporting double digit drops in major crime. But even with the decrease, police say criminals are targeting stores shuttered in the wake of the coronavirus, leading to a huge spike in commercial burglaries.
One man burglarized a New York makeup store that has been shut down during the pandemic, and police say it was his third offense targeting closed businesses. In New York City, overall crime is down by 30%, but commercial burglaries are up 120% year-to-year.
To deter thieves, many business owners are boarding up their storefronts as if they're expecting a hurricane, and that's leading some neighbors to complain that the fancy SoHo fashion district is turning into an eyesore.
"The boarding kinda gives the appearance that we're abandoning the city, like we're giving up," one resident told Inside Edition. "And as New Yorkers, we don't give up."
The NYPD is directing more officers to keep an eye on empty businesses. "We're patrolling with our uniformed officers," an NYPD spokesperson said. "We've also moved some of our narcotics detectives to patrol at night to target these individuals."
Among the many businesses burglarized was the New York landmark Ferrara’s Bakery in Little Italy. The owner Ernest Lepore said the next night the suspect tried to rob their ATM machine with a grinder.