Police in 2 of America's biggest cities on lockdown are concerned coronavirus guidelines might also bring a rise in crime ... but they're ready to crack down.
TMZ spoke with several law enforcement sources in both L.A. and NYC, and we've been told cops are on high alert for scumbags looking to take advantage of the situation ... especially potential burglars.
Truth is, with so manybusinesses shut down ... retail shops, offices, clubs, bars, restaurants, liquor stores and more are extra vulnerable to break-ins. Not only are empty stores ripe for burglaries, but with hardly anybody on the streets ... there are no witnesses to thwart perps or help bust 'em, especially at night.
Because of this, our L.A. law enforcement sources say it's increasing patrols and police visibility all over the city and county, adding undercover units and keeping in contact with owners of establishments and community leaders as much as possible.
We're told officers in NYC have similarly been instructed to keep an eye out for wannabe burglars ... particularly during the overnight hours between midnight and 5 AM.
However, our NYPD sources say although there is a high-level of concern for a crime wave ... it's too early to tell if there's a spike. Regardless, we're told cops are doing everything in their power to keep businesses safe during this already difficult time.
On the bright side ... celebs and athletes who've been getting their houses ransacked in recent years should hopefully get a reprieve ... presuming they're all quarantining at home like the rest of us.