Crime rates down; gun sales up

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Police in Vermont's largest city say calls for disorder or crime have gone down as the coronavirus outbreak is keeping many people indoors. But our Dom Amato found out there still is some concern and spoke with one business that's cashing in during the pandemic.

Burlington Police say the longer people are asked to stay home, the more concern there may be for a rise in certain crimes. And at least one business told WCAX News that some families are staying prepared amid the outbreak and are looking to keep their loved ones safe.

"It's been busier than it should be for a spring week," said Henry Parro, the owner of Parro's Gun Shop.

Business is booming at Parro's Gun Shop in Waterbury. Parro believes fear is a big motivator in sales.

"People are worried that if the whole society shuts down and people have to self-isolate for long periods of time, that the people who can't afford the food and necessities of life may come for theirs," Parro said.

Police are worried that prolonged self-isolation could cause crime rates to jump.

"We certainly have thought about every kind of situation that might arise because of this," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Jon Murad said.

Murad says the number of calls for service has dropped this past week. To keep officers healthy, the main lobby is closed to the public and they may even initially respond to calls over the phone or even virtually.

"But in no cases are we going to fail to respond to instances in which people's safety is at stake," Murad said.

While the crime rate is low now, Murad says he's concerned about an uptick in domestic violence and child abuse.

"We're going to be looking for that, we're going to be watching for that," he said.

He's urging people to call the police if they notice anything unusual in their neighborhoods and says that although some calls will decline, others will most likely increase.

"We'll certainly be on the lookout to ensure our businesses and our homes are still safe and concern," Murad said.

Burlington Police have yet to see any sort of uptick in crimes but we do know there will be a decrease in parking violations. They have stopped parking enforcement at meters and in residential areas but continue to enforce prohibited parking areas.