How will the coronavirus affect crime rates? It’s complicated, experts say

 The criminals haven’t gone away, but COVID-19 is depriving them of opportunity, Richard McCleary, professor of criminology at the University of California-Irvine, told McClatchy News. Whether or not a crime happens depends on three things: There must be opportunity, motivation, and “the absence of a capable guardian,” McCleary said. With everybody hunkered down at home and off the streets, there are fewer easy targets. Homes are harder targets now too on account of always being occupied. Even businesses are likely safer, “because they’re closed, they’re locked up, they’re alarmed,” McCleary said.​​ Residential burglary, street crimes, auto theft, larceny, aggravated assault and commercial burglary will all be down, McCleary predicts.