Essay #2-Research Topic Proposal


For my research-based essay question I will be presenting: What are the primary contributing factors to rising U.S. crime rates during the Covid-19 Pandemic? The paper will model the article “Has Covid-19 Changed Crime? Crime Rates in the United States during the Pandemic.” written by J.H. Boman and O. Gallupe for the American Journal of Criminal Justice. ( My objective is the transference of fact-supported information compiled during my research to an equally inquisitive and concerned audience as I explore three factors that may or may not contribute to the recent rise in violent crime across the country. This question is significant to me as the current resident of a large metropolis where criminality impacts my daily activities and overall safety.  It is relevant to society as it represents possible consequences of our current social climate and choices that have been made amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus far I have collected the majority of my secondary source material, notwithstanding additional sources that may be sought out as I thoroughly investigate each subsection.

The first avenue of examination will be whether an increase in alcohol and substance use due to mandated stay-at-home orders nationwide has any effect on increased crime rates. I will parallel information gathered from researchers who studied the HIV/AIDS epidemic, any correlating substance abuse, and its impact on crime and violence at that time. The second consideration will be if the early release of incarcerated individuals, due to Covid-19 health concerns, generated more regional delinquency in the areas surrounding the penitentiaries from which they were discharged. And finally, I will research if BLM and De-fund the Police protesting has any influence on the uptick in criminal activity across the United States. Does the possibility exist that Law Enforcement agents are intentionally eschewing their responsibilities or is the opposite true; are more arrests being made due to the rise of community unrest and the call to action by outraged citizens.

By narrowing the potential causes from my preliminary list of possibilities to the most substantial three, I feel that I can better manage the direction and focus of my research question. My aim is to maintain command of my topic by eliminating redundant ideas that could potentially oversaturate my essay with unnecessary or confusing information making it difficult or tedious to read.

Works Cited

ACLU, “Decarceration and Crime During Covid-19.” American Civil Liberties Union, 27 Jul. 2020, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020

Ashby, Matthew P. J. “Initial evidence on the relationship between the coronavirus pandemic and crime in the United States.” Crime Science, vol. 9, no. 1, 2020, p. NA. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 11 Oct. 2020.

Boman, John H., and Owen Gallupe, “Has COVID-19 Changed Crime? Crime Rates in the United States during the Pandemic.” Am J Crim Just 45, 537–545 (2020). Accessed 18, Oct 2020.

Curtis, Richard. “The improbable transformation of inner-city neighborhoods: crime, violence, drugs, and youth in the 1990s.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 88, no. 4, Summer 1998, p. 1233. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020.

Hobbs, Michael. “Don’t Blame BLM For The Rise In Violent Crime. The Real Reason Is Much More Interesting.” The Huffington Post, 19 Jul. 2020, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020

Loader, Ian. “To reduce the harm: On defunding the police.” TLS. Times Literary Supplement, no. 6124, 2020, p. 10+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020.

NIDA. “Research at the Intersection of HIV with Substance Use Disorders amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 28 Jul. 2020, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020.

Raphael, Steven, and Michael A. Stoll. “The effect of prison releases on regional crime rates.” Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs, Annual 2004, p. 207+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020.

Southall, Ashley, and Neil MacFarquhar. “Gun Violence Spikes in N.Y.C., Intensifying Debate Over Policing.” The New York Times, Published 23 Jun. 2020, Updated 24, Aug. 2020, Accessed 11 Oct. 2020.

Vitelli, Romeo. “How Are Substance Abuse and Violence Related.” Psychology Today, 08 Mar. 2018, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020.

Zaveri, Mihir. “A Violent August in N.Y.C.: Shootings Double, and Murder is Up by 50%.” The New York Times. 02 Sept. 2020, Accessed 11, Oct. 2020.

Comments ( 5 )

  1. Elena Yu Xu
    I really like your focus on this topic about our current issue on Covid-19, and your aim in writing this to give knowledge to the audience, and by "eliminating ... unnecessary or confusing information... tedious to read". I believe it will give a lot of important details to us and to your audience since this is a very significant matter to our society now. However, I think that in your proposal, you need to add details for the part of your audience.
  2. Jaden Fabro
    The topic you chose is very prevalent and the three causes that you've found are already so insightful. I also appreciate how you've already found the majority of your sources. It looks like you're well on your way to writing an incredibly informative research paper.
  3. Andrew Mark Salmieri
    You're work so far is extremely strong. You seem to have everything together and just have to write the essay at this point. I feel that the economic anxiety brought on by the pandemic has definitely caused a spike in crime. With this being such a recent occurrence, I'm sure you have a glut of sources at hand.
  4. Emily Sanchez
    The fact that you've gathered most of your sources and already have a clear idea of the factors that come into play with your question, further demonstrates that you've got an idea on what you want to write about. Crime rates in comparison to the current pandemic that's occurring is a great topic to research and I wish you luck on expanding on that idea.
  5. Faith Morales
    Wow! Just from your site list, I can tell you are very much ready to jump into this essay. Also, I really like this question. I feel like when you live in NYC crime becomes very normal but during this pandemic, it seems like our normal has become very alarming. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say about this topic. Good luck!

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