Since it first arrived in the United States in late 2019 or early 2020, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our country. By early February 2021, more than 460,000 Americans had died of the disease, and nearly 27 million Americans had been infected. The pandemic has also caused financial distress, with millions of Americans suffering job losses and millions more having difficulty paying rent and buying food and other household necessities.
Here in Little Rock, the novel coronavirus has similarly led to death, illness, and economic difficulties. It has also caused a decrease in crime and service calls to the police – and a slight dip in the amount of development happening in our city.
As we continue to struggle with the pandemic, we are taking a look back at Covid’s impact on Little Rock, Arkansas. By examining data on crime, minor incidents, and building permits in the area, we can get a better idea of exactly how the pandemic affected our region – and what we can do moving forward.
Covid-19 in Little Rock: Crime Statistics
Between 2019 and 2020, Little Rock, AR saw an overall decrease in crime levels. In 2019, the Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) handled 15,232 complaints related to violent and property crimes. In 2020, that number dropped to 13,356 complaints, for a 12% decrease.
In 2020, only two types of crimes occurred more frequently than in 2020: aggravated assault and murder. Both of these crimes rose in 2020. In particular, the number of aggravated assaults shot up by 28% between 2019 and 2020.
Across the board, all types of crime decreased, including:
Most significantly, property crimes that take place in a store or other building (such as shoplifting) dramatically decreased in 2020. This may be attributed to the fact that more people were home due to shutdown orders – making it harder to commit these types of crimes.
Not only did most types of crimes drop, but they also dropped in all areas of Little Rock. With the exception of one ZIP code (72207) crime dropped in every other Little Rock Zip Code. The most dramatic drops in crime were to the 72211 and 72223 ZIP codes which each saw a 29% drop in crime in 2020.
Covid-19 in Little Rock: Service Calls
Similarly, the overall number of non-emergency service calls placed to Little Rock’s 311 line dropped between 2019 and 2020. In 2019, there were a total of 120,018 calls to 311 for issues ranging from trash complaints to housing code violations to barking dogs and stray animals. By 2020, that number had decreased to just 91,139 calls – a decrease of 24%.
There were fewer than 311 for all categories of issues and complaints in 2020, including:
- Trash complaints: 15% decrease
- Code violations: 48% decrease
- Public works: 29% decrease
- Animal services: 18% decrease
- Street lights: 12% decrease
It isn’t entirely clear why there was such a drastic drop in 311 calls in 2020 for things like missed garbage pick-up, high grass and weeds, and pothole repair. However, it may simply be that as more people spent time at home in 2020, they were able to devote more time to things around their house and yard. At the same time, city workers may have been able to spend more time ensuring that street lights were operating and other issues were addressed.
Covid-19 in Little Rock: Property Development
Despite the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic, residents and developers continued to seek out planning and development permits from the city of Little Rock in 2020. While the total number of permits requested decreased only 1% from 2019 to 2020, many types of permits were in higher demand in 2020 than in the previous year.
Overall, commercial development suffered the biggest drop from 2019 to 2020. Developers requested 30% fewer permits for commercial properties. These statistics are not surprising, given the uncertain economic future for many commercial establishments, including bars and restaurants, stores, and shopping centers.
However, there was an increase in the number of requests for almost every other type of planning and development permit in Little Rock from 2019 to 2020. With the exception of mobile homes, permit requests for the following types of properties all increased:
- Single-family – 2% increase
- Apartment complex – 74% increase
- Multi-family – 57% increase
- Assisted living/long-term care facilities – 821% increase
These numbers show that although Little Rock suffered economic setbacks due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, individuals and businesses alike continued to seek out opportunities to develop their properties, whether for personal use or for business.
We’re Here for Little Rock
This year has been difficult for many people in Little Rock and throughout Arkansas. If you were hurt in any type of accident, it may have made 2020 even harder. Our legal team can help.
The Law Offices of Alan LeVar represent people who have been injured in car accidents, slip and falls, truck crashes, motorcycle accidents, and all other types of accidents.
If you have been hurt because of something that someone else did – or failed to do – you may be entitled to compensation. Call our office at (501) 588-0082, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation with a Little Rock personal injury attorney.