I would much rather listen to the 1970s song You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman Turner Overdrive, than to use the title of that song as a forecast of bad things to come in America.
Current Situation Regarding Police Response in Many Areas
As you may know, it's already policy in many areas, in one form or another, jails and state prisons are granting early release to prisoners who are incarcerated for non-violent crimes like DUI, petty theft, vandalism, driving under suspension, check fraud, burglary, drug possession, etc. Some prisons will also grant early release for more serious crimes like assault, menacing, dealing in narcotics, etc., and state governors can always commute a sentence for anything, including murder, if they choose.
So, what about crimes committed today or in the future. First, most states with shelter-in-place orders are already not pulling over people for speeding and minor traffic violations which also include expired license plates, burned out headlights, etc., due to fear of the officer getting infected and reducing manpower. More serious misdemeanors such as trespassing, assault without battery (physical or verbal threat without actually striking a person), burglary, theft, menacing, harassment, etc. will only be responded to over the phone and the report written up off-site. There are some departments that may show up at your home if it is burglarized for the purpose of making sure that the burglar has left, but as far as my old department, and many more around me and throughout the country, officers are not allowed to enter the homes of victims unless there is an immediate threat, or unless the crime was: murder, aggravated assault (with a weapon), rape, robbery, or violent felonies along those lines. If your gun loathing-family members or neighbors are thinking about getting “curbside service” from the police because someone just stole the stereo out of their Mercedes, they will be in for a big surprise.
The Relationship Between the Prisoners and the Authorities
I’m going to give some of you a wakeup call, so listen up, as this all applies to you and your family. Criminals are very aware of the current COVID-19 arrest procedures in place at every department in their jurisdiction, and the information didn’t just come of the local TV news. Although local news has covered the new police response procedures, criminals have a lot of inside information, such as: how many police are on a shift, how many patrol cars are on a shift at any given time and what areas they patrol, how many police are working on a given day (who is sick, who is off, etc.), which police officers will “work” with them as far as turning a blind eye to minor looting or theft, which shift supervisor is lazy and doesn’t care what the police under them are doing, etc. They even know which cops are cheating on their wives or involved with drugs, and with that info criminals will blackmail them. The corrupt officer issue is rare, but it exists in almost every large department.
When I was a deputy sheriff in the mid-1990s, one assignment I had was working direct supervision in a jail pod. A pod in our jail was 36 cells arranged in a semi-circle, 18 on the bottom, and 18 on top, accessed by metal stairs and a walkway. I was not behind bars or safety glass, and prisoners (inmate is the politically correct term) were walking all around me. If something happened to me, such as an assault, policy was to keep everything locked down until it was safe for other officers to get me out. In a jail riot situation, it's all over as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, because I was a defensive tactics instructor and familiar with gang members and violent criminals, those were the pods I was usually assigned to, although any officer could be assigned to the “murder pods.” Other pods were serious misdemeanor, violent mental illness, and infirmary, but you could have a bit of a mix of any of these prisoners in any pod depending on the severity of the crime or overcrowding. Youngstown, Ohio, had record violent crime then, and much of it was gang- and drug-related.
The criminals knew what kind of car I drove, when my shift started and ended, where I lived, and much other personal information they picked up from other deputies, prisoners who may have known me many years before, and some of their knowledge came from just looking out a window that faced our parking lot (poor jail design, banned in Georgia by the way) or by being very observant. Any information was passed via a telephone to their “people” on the street – all prisoners can make weekly calls. Have a fight with a prisoner, and you can almost guarantee that a full report would go out to the prisoner’s cohorts in almost no time, especially if you discipline them. (You might not remember them years later, but they will remember you when you are with your family at the mall years later – that’s why it's so important for cops to continue carrying after retirement or when they leave their police career.) Another way inside police information is passed along is when a gang member or criminal has a family member who is a cop - at any family gathering, criminals pick up “loose talk.” Talking to my old deputy partner “Stinger” the other day, who was also the manager of my gun shop in the late 1980s, reminded me when we responded to what became known locally as the Newport Inn Massacre. I’m not going to get into what happened to a large extent (you can click on the hyperlink to read about it), but basically five armed gang-banger types stormed into a bar (while a sixth waited in a getaway van), shot five people (executing some) in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1996. The reason I mention this is that at least three of the robbers’ fathers were…cops.
The Criminal Mindset
I have spoken to literally hundreds of criminals on subjects like: the crime they committed for which they are currently serving, what crimes they committed in the past, what crimes they plan to commit (yes, sometimes they actually will tell you!), why they commit crimes, why they feel they are justified in committing crimes, etc. – all of this information was obtained when performing my duties as a pod supervisor, booking officer, court deputy, prisoner transport deputy, and patrol. Let me give you an idea into the mentality of those who commit violent street crime, and with the exception of the criminally insane, it boils down to one simple thing – they want “stuff.” Currently, there are over one million gang members in the United States, Chicago has over 150,000 and Los Angeles has at least 125,000 – those are small armies. The following may be disturbing, but this is VERY serious, so be sure that you and your family are aware of where this current pandemic can lead.
Gangbangers, Thieves, and Robbers
The gangbanger wants you out of his “hood” because people may witness his crimes, or people may take over his drug business. The gangbanger wants sex, so he will grab what he sees. If you are a young woman who misses a freeway exit and you get off in the wrong part of town, you can end up raped and dead. I personally know of multiple incidents, including one where five “youths” raped a woman in broad daylight, in the middle of the street, on the hood of her car. The gangbanger wants rank or respect and shows his (or her) value in the gang by a violent show of force -- in the form of shooting up a house or business in a suburban area, carjacking, attacking a person walking down a sidewalk, etc. Or simply, they just want “stuff,” so they will rob for it. And there are those who will commit violent crime just for fun. The violent gang-banger criminal element is usually in the age range of mid-teens to mid-20s. They will have no problem risking getting the virus, which in most cases will not be serious for youth (they know this), and taking what they want. Robbing for jewelry and cash is one thing, robbing for food will place a whole other level of justification on what the criminals are doing.
Most of what is listed above for gang bangers will also apply to independent thieves and robbers, except that these people work alone or in very small groups.
The conman will figure out a way to remove money from you (usually with your help), and if he/she can do it without facing you in person, then all the better. The COVID-19 “con jobs” are already in place. Conmen calling the elderly asking them for credit card numbers so they can deliver food and water are in place now and more creative ways to get money from unsuspecting victims will go on long after this virus has drifted away. However, do not think that the conman cannot be violent. Most home invasions start with the invaders posing as police, government workers, utility repairman, florist, or even “neighbors” from “down the street.” Just last week in Boardman, Ohio (low-crime suburb of Youngstown), it has been reported that two individuals were video recorded as they rang a doorbell. The one wore a large cross and the other was carrying a case of water. When the one individual realized that the owner had a mounted video camera staring at them he said: “S#!t, They have one of those cameras that take pictures. They have your face.” In Canfield, another suburb close by, word is out that conmen are posing as government workers testing for coronavirus, and they are breaking in if no one is home.
Criminally Insane and the Shortage of Psychotropic Drugs
The criminally insane can be motivated to commit by many things such as wants/desires, delusions, etc. Homicidal maniacs do live amongst us and many times are treated with medication, but what about “everyday people?” At least one out of every 10 Americans is on some sort of psychotropic drug for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc. – that’s over 30,000,000 people. What happens to them when/if China can’t/won’t ship any more drugs? America relies on China for about 80% of its pharmaceuticals and many Chinese companies haven’t shipped product since January. What if the drugs are in the USA but there only 30% of trucks running to ship them? Or only 20% of pharmacies remain open? When psych medicines become rationed, expect domestic violence to increase and add to the long list of other crimes. I am not stating that people who are on psychotropic medicines are closet criminals, but what I am saying is that when those who have a form of mental illness don’t take their medications the chances of those people being involved with the law goes up dramatically – I have seen it first-hand many times. Drug addicts and alcoholics will also be big problems for society to deal with, even if the addictions are mild. Also, related ambulance calls will stress out an already stressed out medical system.
When and What to Expect When the SHTF
Back to the prisoner releases. Many who are getting out on misdemeanors can have violent felony records, so just because someone is in jail for misdemeanor DUI does not mean that armed robbery or rape isn’t on their record. Here are the “triggers” which will skyrocket violent crime, and send the worst of the worst out in the streets, when criminals realize that the chances of getting caught will be greatly diminished:
POLICE ASBSENCE - I will tell you that as soon as police departments lose more than 50% of their workforce due to the virus, or from staying home with a sick family member, or from just quitting to protect their families, crime will soar. As of 3/24/20, 200 NYPD officers are out with COVID-19; a few days earlier, the number was 50 known cases. If a total breakdown in society occurs, you will see only a very small percentage of police on the job, as police will protect their families first.
HOSPITAL FAILURE – As the COVID-19 pandemic increases, the need for lung vent machines for the percentage of those who can’t breathe will be in even shorter supply (many city hospitals will be short by tens of thousands). For example, one study shows that at the current rate of infection, Wyoming will need over 11,000 vent lung machines – they currently have 200. Also, there are only about 70,000 ICU rooms in the entire country to deal with infectious respiratory failure. This is a dire situation in every city and county across the USA. Nurses and doctors are catching the disease at high rates and passing it to their families – these nurses and doctors are out of commission. These and other factors, such as refusing patients, will also lead to hospital failure.
1,000 DEAD PER DAY - When the USA reaches this number and word gets out that death is widespread like it is in Italy, Spain, etc. (Italian crematoriums have been running 24/7 for weeks), this will cause huge panic, in my opinion.
TRUCKING TRANSPORT FAILURES & FOOD SHORTAGES– As with law enforcement, the number of truckers will reduce due to them getting ill, taking early retirement due to COVID-19, staying at home with sick family or to protect them, etc. This is already starting to occur, and transport companies are begging for truck drivers. According to the American Truckers Association’s document When Trucks Stop, America Stops, this is what happens with a total trucking shutdown in your area:
“The first 24 hours
- Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
- Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
- Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
- Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
- U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.
Within one day
- Food shortages will begin to develop.
- Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
- Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery, assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.
Within two to three days
- Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
- Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
- ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process transactions.
- Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
- Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
- Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.
Within a week
- Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
- Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.
Within two weeks
- The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.
Within four weeks
- The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.
This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.”
Permission-to-travel documents have already been given to employees of many transport companies nationwide so their employees will be allowed to transport during a nationwide lock down. If trucking gets reduced to a crippling low level, the federal government may take over trucking and only allow food, medicine, and critical emergency supplies to be transported. Also, any disruption in the EBT welfare and food stamp credit system would be a disaster for any city. Disruptions with that system can be monitored at Downdetector.
What to Prepare For
Expect: Con games, widespread theft, burglaries, robberies, assaults, shootings, car jackings, home invasions, rape, attempted murder, murder, looting, and rioting. (Looting related to COVID-19 has begun in parts of England.) Even if police departments are fully staffed, they will not be able to respond to this much crime at once. Remember, even the Supreme Court has ruled that police are not obligated to guarantee your safety.
- If you or any family member works in (or drives through) a high-crime area, then you should stop working in my very strong experienced opinion. Yes, there are consequences, and life is not fair, but better to have an unfair life for a time than no life all.
- Stay home, without getting into how contagious COVID-19 is and potentially fatal, the best way to avoid trouble is to stay home UNLESS you live in a high-crime area. If that is the case, figure out a way to go somewhere safe. If a close family member is in an unsafe area, then if possible, bring them to your house if they are healthy. Avoid any outdoor area at night.
- Get your food and supplies now, and not two-week’s worth, which is as inadequate as it is irresponsible; get enough for at least 90 days. Read this article on an inexpensive and fast way to store up: Three Cans a Day Keep the FEMA Camps Away. Try to stock up during the daytime and bring “back up” if you can. (A report from California this morning stated that a woman was robbed of all of her groceries in the grocery store parking lot.)
- Reduce any unnecessary and dangerous jobs and tasks that could land you or your family in the hospital because of accidents.
- Gather any communications equipment you have such as a police scanner, CB, shortwave radio (for monitoring overseas broadcasts, U.S. broadcasts, and HAM radio operators if the radio is equipped with single side band capability), HAM radio, etc. and batteries and chargers for these. It is very important to monitor any police, government, and even public utility traffic locally. Do not just depend on your Wi-Fi and smart phone and cable TV. If you don’t have a police scanner, and your internet is working, you can listen to many of your police, fire departments, ambulance, and other government radio broadcasts (as long as those are not encrypted) via Broadcastify.
- Be sure that you have a firearm and ammunition for self-defense. Ideally, one should have: one modern sporting rifle (5.56, 7.62x39, .308, or whatever caliber they prefer) with at least four magazines, a scoped high-power rifle (.30-06 or greater), a handgun (9mm or greater), .22 LR rifle, and a shotgun with defense-length barrel (can be a slug barrel) and longer barrel for waterfowl. If you live in an area where gun shops are closed, and it's legal to build a gun, order an AR-15 kit or handgun kit (like the Glock copies) with 80% receivers you can build at home - these can be mailed to your house along with ammunition (which is getting scarce). If you can’t own a modern firearm, then black-powder guns assembled and in kit form can be mailed to your home along with high-power airguns, crossbows, etc., but some states do restrict these items.
- Be sure that your alarm system is armed at night and make sure that you have outside lights working. Do not tell anyone about your survival supplies – no one. Here is a link to a short-edited five-minute-version of the Twilight Zone episode The Shelter if you want a look into human nature when people are desperate. (If you can rent the whole episode, then that would be best.)
Many estimates place the height of the epidemic, in certain states, to peak between the first week of April and mid-May. Remember, a peak does not last one day, it can last weeks. If correct, then this will continue until fall or later. Be safe. Be Ready.