KEY POINTS

  • March 2020 saw no mass school shooting due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • It was the first time this happened since March 2002
  • In general, the crime rate has dropped because of the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders

School shootings in the United States used to dominate the headlines every March but amid nationwide lockdowns and school closures, the coronavirus pandemic apparently prevented such an incident for the first time since 2002.

A reporter from The Washington Post made the observation in a tweet. He further shared links citing data from the National School Safety Center, the National School Safety and Security Services and Everytown for Gun Safety to confirm several school shootings in the U.S. took place in March in the last two decades.

Most schools in the U.S. were ordered to shut down in mid-March in an attempt to slow down the spread of coronavirus. Stay-at-home orders have also been established in most cities, essentially closing down businesses or offices and limiting activities.

Despite the absence of school shootings, March saw an increase in gun sales as fears of civil unrest came to light because of the pandemic. Some 1.9 million Americans apparently stockpiled on ammunition aside from toilet paper. According to The New York Times, March 2020 was the second most lucrative period for gun sales next to January 2013, which saw a surge of gun sales of over two million units.

While gun control advocates hail the fact that the coronavirus lockdown prevented school shootings, there's also a concern over what might happen when the lockdown ends.

“When this pandemic ends and we emerge from this physical distancing reality, the guns will remain," Igor Volsky of Guns Down America tweeted. “Will there be increased mass shootings, school shootings, shootings at home, at work, at concerts?”

Meanwhile, cities across the U.S. generally had a significant drop in major crimes like murder, assault, robbery and grand larceny as the streets were empty and the businesses closed.

In Chicago, the crime rate dipped to 30% in the middle of March. While 20% of the New York Police force have had coronavirus cases, the city was also experiencing a significant decrease in criminal activities.

“In some sense, it’s like a giant blizzard has hit and there’s 10 feet of snow on the ground,” noted one police officer.

However, domestic violence cases have been surging as lockdowns and isolation trigger abuse. Experts said that the stay-at-home orders have closed down or limited the number of people at shelters-in-place.

Law enforcers are also not able to respond faster to domestic violence cases, while counseling in person has not been possible. Hence, there's not much a victim can do to get help from the abuser at home.