Will a Crime Wave Follow Hurricane Sandy?

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Recent history leads us to believe that spikes in crime have become a part of the aftermath of hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Irene were no exception to this and Hurricane Sandy could follow suit.

Being categorized as a Category 1 storm, heading for the east coast of the United States at 20mph, Hurricane Sandy has the strength to cause massive destruction both as it touches down and in the aftermath as the country rebounds.

History shows us that looting, rape and murder have been reported after Hurricane Katrina, which actually hindered the ability for help to be deployed to the area immediately.

In 2005, the New York Times reported, “Beyond doubt, the sense of menace had been ignited by genuine disorder and violence. Looting varied from basic thievery to foraging for the necessities of life. Police officers said that at least one person fired for nights on end at a police station on the edge of the French Quarter. The manager of a hotel on Bourbon Street said he saw people running through the streets with guns.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that Hurricane Sandy may be the largest storm to hit the United States, which likely will not lend itself well to a calm aftermath. With much of New York’s facilities and infrastructure lying low, flooding and power outages could be very widespread.

Hurricane Katrina saw police stations completely submerged in water, with no radio frequency, leading to more looters in the streets. If Hurricane Sandy floods the subway system in New York, it could create great difficulty getting around the city and New York could see many of the same crime waves Katrina saw years ago.

Coastal geologist and professor at Queens College, Nicholas Coch says New York is “the most dangerous place in the world for storm surge.”


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