We certainly appreciate our “frontline” heroes during this pandemic. We’ve seen television commercials, read articles in national newspapers and watched videos online of people banging pans each night in New York to say “thank you” to our nurses, doctors and “essential” employees who have no choice but to deal face-to-face with the coronavirus. We’ve heard of those in the medical profession who can’t be with their families, for fear that they may spread the illness.
The group we may be overlooking, but not for lack of appreciation, are the men and women who protect us.
It didn’t take a pandemic to recognize the value of those who are on the beat every day and night, dealing with the worst of society and doing their best to protect the innocent and most vulnerable.
Perhaps it is because of our high expectations and their consistent efforts that we haven’t celebrated the role of our police and sheriff’s deputies in dealing with this pandemic.
Statistics provide the evidence.
Friday, during his “First Watch” radio show on KTAN-AM, Sheriff Dannels reviewed the dramatic increase in calls and criminal activity that have occurred during the recently-ended shelter-in-place order.
Comparing the crime rates of March and April, Cochise County has had a 41 percent jump in the number of domestic violence calls. The number of suicides and attempted suicides increased 150 percent, citizen disputes are up 25 percent, sex offenses increased just over 30 percent and aggravated assaults jumped 33 percent.
This outcome can be considered predictable. With the introduction of restrictions that required people to stay at home, the increased stress of dealing with the unknown of the coronavirus and the impact of the pandemic on our local economy, it’s not a surprise that crime rates increased dramatically.
People lost jobs, entertainment venues and other social outlets were shuttered, and the very real threat of getting sick was omnipresent.
We’re hopeful that the gradual return to a semblance of normalcy will bring the crime numbers back in line with the long-term trends for our community. As people get back to work and fears of the coronavirus fade, our hope is that the rate of criminal activity will go down.
But let’s not forget to say “thank you” and express our appreciation to the men and women who protect us and those most vulnerable.
Here’s a celebratory “THANK YOU” to our police officers and sheriff’s deputies who have been on the frontline of this pandemic fight from the beginning.
Our community appreciates you and your dedication to our protection.
This editorial first appeared in the Herald/Review.