CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Gun violence has spiked across the nation amid the pandemic, and Chattanooga is no exception.
According to data from Chattanooga Police, the number of homicides so far has remained steady. However, shootings – both fatal and non-fatal, are up 20 percent this year.
While some could point to increased unemployment as a cause of the spike, City Councilman Erskine Oglesby says that the weather can also play a role.
“Our gun violence or crime seems to go up and down according to the season. And, you know, we’re moving into the holiday season so more people would have been out and around anyway but the pandemic just seems to have elevated some of what’s going – those negative things that’s going on in our communities.”
While the Chattanooga Police Department was not available for an on-camera interview, a statement was issued by Sergeant James Eames.
“The pandemic has certainly impacted law enforcement and future assessments of violence and criminal activity will likely reveal a connection.
However, it’s still a bit speculative to suggest that the rise in violence is directly tied to the pandemic.
Certainly more people are at home. Many people are out of work. Those things at least create more opportunity for violent crime to take place.
The pandemic has affected everyone’s behavior, law enforcement included. However, it will not deter CPD from providing the services that our community expects from it’s police department.”
Councilman Oglesby and the Chattanooga Police Department both said that while the pandemic might not be a direct cause of the spike in gun violence, it certainly is a contributing factor.
With many out of work and stuck at home, this creates opportunity for crime to happen more often.