After the coronavirus pandemic forced the city of Philadelphia to go into lockdown, gun violence rapidly escalated, a new study finds.
It’s known that many U.S. cities saw a spike in gun violence in 2020, a year marked not only by the pandemic but also widespread protests following the police killing of George Floyd.
In the new study, researchers found that after Philadelphia closed non-essential businesses in March, there was a substantial, sustained increase in gun violence over the following months.
There was no clear decrease, however, once restrictions were partially lifted, nor any obvious acceleration after the Floyd killing.
The findings suggest that COVID-19 shutdowns spurred the surge in violence, possibly by worsening unemployment and distress in Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods, the researchers said.