How crime patterns have changed, and why Californians are buying more guns

“A lot of things like car thefts, and people stealing car parts, shootings and murders — they’re all definitely up. A lot of it is due to the pandemic and people being home,” says Ethan Ward, reporter at Crosstown LA. Photo by Elliott Cowand Jr/

This year kicked off with an alarming rise in shootings in Los Angeles, according to the LAPD’s public stats. Homicides are up, robberies are down, rapes are down, car thefts are up. And people looking to buy guns broke records after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

“What we were seeing was a collision of COVID-19 and this country’s long-standing gun violence problem, with data suggesting that 2020 had more incidents in which four or more people were killed or injured due to guns than any of the past several years,” says Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, who teaches the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis. 

“Unfortunately, Black and Brown communities in turn have shouldered a disproportionate share of the burden of not only COVID-19, but also these incidents of interpersonal firearm-related harm,” she continues.