As a whole, crime has dropped off drastically in New Jersey. Because many businesses are closed and people are staying home, there’s probably fewer opportunities for people to get into trouble. That’s caused a 65% drop-off in arrests below the norm. Even shootings have dropped 19%.

Here’s the bad news: Murders involving guns have actually increased by 9%.

What’s causing the shift? Nobody’s exactly certain, yet, but the likelihood is that “casual” shootings (where the shooter may be trying to intimidate someone rather than kill) may be on the decline while “serious” shootings (where the shooter takes careful aim with every intent to kill) are on the rise. That speaks to underlying tensions, anxieties and feuds coming from living in close quarters with other people when there are personality conflicts involved.

If you have a gun in the home, you need to make sure that it can’t be grabbed and used in a rash moment after an argument escalates. To that end:

  • Keep your firearms unloaded when they are not in use.
  • Keep all weapons under lock and key in a cabinet, safe or storage case.
  • Make sure that there is limited access to the gun storage area. Ideally, the guns should be behind a locked door in a room that only one or two people can access.
  • Store your ammunition in a different, locked area, away from any firearms.
  • Consider a trigger lock. That will render the gun inoperable unless you turn over the key.

This doesn’t guarantee that a domestic dispute or family fight won’t escalate. It does, however, make it far more difficult for someone to react impulsively and commit a violent crime.

If stress, anxiety and frustration led to charges of a violent crime, get experienced legal assistance with your defense right away.