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The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has impacted the world in ways not seen in generations. Initial evidence suggests one of the effects is crime rates, which appear to have fallen drastically in many communities around the world. We argue that the principal reason for the change is the government ordered stay-at-home orders, which impacted the routine activities of entire populations. Because these orders impacted countries, states, and communities at different times and in different ways, a naturally occurring, quasi-randomized control experiment has unfolded, allowing the testing of criminological theories as never before. Using new and traditional data sources made available as a result of the pandemic criminologists are equipped to study crime in society as never before. We encourage researchers to study specific types of crime, in a temporal fashion (following the stay-at-home orders), and placed-based. The results will reveal not only why, where, when, and to what extent crime changed, but also how to influence future crime reduction.
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Crime Rates in a Pandemic: the Largest Criminological
Experiment in History
Ben Stickle
&Marcus Felson
Received: 29 May 2020 /Accepted: 11 June 2020/
#Southern Criminal Justice Association 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has impacted the world in ways not seen in
generations. Initial evidence suggests one of the effects is crime rates, which appear
to have fallen drastically in many communities around the world. We argue that the
principal reason for the change is the government ordered stay-at-home orders, which
impacted the routine activities of entire populations. Because these orders impacted
countries, states, and communities at different times and in different ways, a naturally
occurring, quasi-randomized control experiment has unfolded, allowing the testing of
criminological theories as never before. Using new and traditional data sources made
available as a result of the pandemic criminologists are equipped to study crime in
society as never before. We encourage researchers to study specific types of crime, in a
temporal fashion (following the stay-at-home orders), and placed-based. The results
will reveal not only why, where, when, and to what extent crime changed, but also how
to influence future crime reduction.
Keywords COVID-19 .Crime rates .Coronavirus response .Routine activities .Rational
choice .Crime
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is unquestionably one of the most significant world-
wide events in recent history, impacting culture, government operations, crime, eco-
nomics, politics, and social interactions for the foreseeable future. One unique aspect of
this crisis is the governmental response of issuing legal stay-at-home orders to attempt
to slow the spread of the virus. While these orders varied, both in degree and timing,
between countries and states, they generally began with strong encouragement for
persons to isolate themselves voluntarily. As the magnitude of the crisis grew,
American Journal of Criminal Justice
*Ben Stickle
Department of Criminal Justice Administration, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro,
TN 37132, USA
Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA
governments began legally mandating persons to stay-at-home to reduce the transmis-
sion rate of the virus. There were, of course, exceptions; workers who were deemed
essential,such as those in the fields of medicine, finance, public safety, food
production, transportation, and in other miscellaneous industries did not have to abide
by these orders to the degree to which the general public did.
Nevertheless, practically overnight, the entire country ceased or significantly reduced
day-to-day travels, eliminating commutes from home to work, as well as leisure activities,
shopping trips, social gatherings, the ability to dine out, and more. One poll in late March
found that 90% of Americans, including essential workers, were staying at home as much
as possible(Washington Post-ABC, 2020). The stay-at-homemandates brought about
the most wide-reaching, significant, and sudden alteration of the lives of billions of people
in human history. Across the United States and around the world, a positive byproduct
(Fattah, 2020) of these unprecedented events is a dramatic drop in crime rates.
Initial Crime Data
Several researchers have made initial examinations into how crime rates have fluctu-
ated in the advent of COVID-19. The results have been mixed, to say the least,
especially when comparing broad categories of crime across different cities and with
different methods and periods of study. However, these initial academic studies are
intrinsically valuable and deserve to be mentioned here.
One of the earliest studies with perhaps the most striking results was by Shayegh and
Malpede (2020), which identified an overall drop in crime in San Francisco of 43% and
Oakland of about 50% following city issuance of some of the most restrictive and early
stay-at-home orders in the US, beginning March 16th,2020 and the two weeks after.
Surprisingly, significant results are also clearly seen when examining specific crimes
against retailers in crime in Los Angeles. Pietrawska, Aurand, and Palmer (2020a)
found a 64% increase in retail burglary, while city-wide burglary rates weredown 10%.
Similarly, Pietrawska, Aurand, and Palmer (2020b) identified a five-week change in
crimes occurring at restaurants in Chicago, a 74% reduction, while city-wide crime
declined 35%. Continuing their study of crime rates in the pandemic outside of a retail
focus, Pietrawska, Aurand, and Palmer (2020c) compared crimes against persons and
crimes against property in four cities for ten weeks, finding sharp variations from week
to week and within different crime types.
Another early study by Ashby (2020a) of eight large US cities during the first few
weeks of the crisis (January to March 23rdbefore some states and areas implemented
stay-at-home orders) found disparate impacts by crime type and location. For example,
burglary declined in Austin, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Scan Francisco, but not in
Louisville or Boston. Conversely, serious assaults in public declined in Austin, Los
Angeles, and Louisville, but not other cities.
Felson,Jiang,andXu(2020) examined burglary in Detroit during three periods,
representing data before stay-at-home orders were in place and two periods under
orders (March 10th to March 23rd and March 24th to March 31st). Their findings
indicated an overall 32% decline in burglary, with the most substantial change in the
third period. However, the decline was more significant in block groups of higher
residential parcels than in mix-use land areas.
American Journal of Criminal Justice
Campedelli et al. (2020) analyzed crime in Los Angeles in two time periods (the first
ending March 16th and the second ending March 28th) using Bayesian structural time-
series models to estimate what crime would have been if the COVID-19 pandemic had
not occurred. Comparing the actual crime data against the estimated sans-pandemic
data, the first model found an overall crime reduction of 5.6% during the pandemic.
Likewise, the second model (ending March 28th) showed a 15% reduction. Specifi-
cally, researchers found that overall crime rates significantly decreased, particularly
when referencing robbery (24%), shoplifting (14%), theft (21%), and battery
(11%). However, burglary, domestic violence, stolen vehicles, and homicide
remained statically unchanged.
While not explicitly measuring crime rates, studies of calls for police service
can function as an indirect measure of crime in a given area. Early studies of calls
for service during the pandemic present mixed results. Lum, Maupin, and Stoltz
(2020) found that 57% of 1000 agencies surveyed in the United States and Canada
reported a reduction in calls for service in March of 2020. Ashby (2020b), on the
other hand, found no discernible difference in forecasted calls for service in 10
large US cities between the first identified cases of COVID-19 in the US through-
out early March. However, Ashby found that once stay-at-home orders were
implemented, calls for service did decline, although not evenly across call types
or cities. In another study of police calls for service, Mohler et al. (2020)
examined calls in Los Angeles and Indianapolis between January and mid-April;
they concluded there was some impact on police calls for service but not across all
crime types or places.
Internationally, Swedish researchers Gerell, Kardell, and Kindgren (2020)examined
crime during the five weeks after government restrictions on activities began, observing
an 8.8% total drop in reported crime despite the countrys somewhat lax response
(when compared to other countriespolicies on restricting the publicsmovement).
Specifically, the researchers found residential burglary fell by 23%, commercial bur-
glary declined 12.7%, and instances of pick-pocketing were reduced by a staggering
61% however, there was little change in robberies or narcotics crime. In Australia,
Payne and Morgan (2020) studied crime in March, finding assaults, sexual violations,
and domestic violence were not significantly different from what was predicted under
normalconditions at the lower end of the confidence interval. They cautioned against
early conclusions based on this data as the government orders came only a few weeks
into the study.
These initial reports indicate that crime rates have indeed changed, but un-
equally across different categories, types, places, and timeframes. Among crime
researchers, the featured question of this pandemic will be, Why have crime rates
fallen so dramatically?The corollary is, What can be learned from this experi-
ence to leverage crime reduction in the future?The data and opportunities before
every criminologist will provide near-endless research opportunities at levels
never before possible, and every effort should be made to capture data and
promote the study of crime. This research note aims to identify and encourage
these lines of inquiry, to urge researchers to dive deeply into the data made
available from the pandemic, and to provide the impetus for not only discerning
why crime fell but also for how to pragmatically utilize this knowledge after the
world emerges from seclusion.
American Journal of Criminal Justice
Crime in Lock-Down: Theoretical Implications
During the few hours before a legal stay-at-home order was implemented, and through-
out the first few weeks that followed, it is essential to note what likely did notchange.
As people around the world returned from frantic and stress-filled trips to stock up on
food and other essentials and closed the door to their residence behind them, their
biological and physiological conditions changed very little, nor did the labels attributed
to them by society, friends, or family. Poverty and inequality did not disappear or
increase immediately. It is unlikely that self-control dramatically increased either. There
were, however, things that did change; society became more disorganized, and social
influences and relationships were suddenly cut, diminished, or otherwise altered. Strain,
stress, and anomie likely increased significantly as many became fearful for the future
(both financially and physically) and estranged from family and friends whom they
could not visit physically. Further, punitive responses to crime (i.e., deterrence) were
slowed or ceased altogether as courts closed, police were encouraged to reduce contact
with the public, and thousands of prisoners were released early.
With crime declining at such a significant pace and many of the often-attributed
circumstances impacting crime staying consistent or in some cases increasing or
decreasing in a direction opposite of what many believe drives crime, many crimino-
logical theories appear to be struggling to explain the abrupt and sweeping change. We
believe the scope and nature of crime changes during the COVID-19 crisis will become
a proving ground for the many theories that attempt to explain the etiology of criminal
behavior. In the end, this naturally occurring experiment will advance our knowledge
of crime and human behavior as no other event has ever done during the era in which
criminological data were widely available.
As such, we argue that the single most salient aspect of the steep fall in crime rates
during the COVID-19 pandemic are the legal stay-at-home orders (i.e., lock-down,
shelter-in-place) implemented to slow the spread of the virus by promoting social
distancing. Stay-at-home orders were issued by most states and legally required residence
to stay within their homes except for authorized activities. Commonly, these activities
included seeking health care, purchasing food and other necessary supplies, banking, and
similar activities. The orders either outrightclosedorbyde-factoclosedbroadswathsof
the economy and impacted schools, private social gatherings, religious activities, travel,
and more. In short, these orders disrupted the daily activities of entire populations and was
the only variable that changed abruptly, just days before double-digit drops in crime
around the world. As such, we believe, the Environmental Criminology suite of perspec-
tives including; Rational Choice (Clarke & Felson, 1993) and Routine Activity (Cohen &
Felson, 1979) will emerge as frontrunners in understanding the crime changes during
COVID-19 and will provide insight how to influence crime in the future.
A Call to Examine Crime
Therefore, we offer a call for examining crime before, during, and after a government-
imposed stay-at-home order, that coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifical-
ly, we advocate for researchers to consider crime in the context of temporal shifts, in a
place-based context, to use emerging data sources, and to study crime with specificity.
American Journal of Criminal Justice
Crime Specificity
Criminologists tend to overgeneralize about crime while underestimating the enormous
specificity in offender decision making (LeClerc, & Wortley, R. (Eds.)., 2013). Even
within each crime type, the finer particulars of an offense should be studied to under-
stand how crime patterns change and shift. Specificity is even more critical when
researching crime in a pandemic as it allows for an understanding of nuanced changes,
such as opportunity structure, that would otherwise be missed. For example, the changes
in daily activities in the wake of the pandemic tend to decrease the population in non-
residential parts of the metropolis, while increasing the population in residential zones.
For example, the broad category of theftappears to be down across many cities in
the US (Ashby, 2020a). However, theft is likely not declining evenly across all
categories. Consider theft in a retail context. The retail sector has experienced an
85% decline in foot traffic after the stay-at-home orders were implemented (Jahshan,
2020); many stores are closed, and thus the opportunity for shoplifting and employee
theft are curtailed. Pietrawska et al. (2020a), for example, identified a 24% decline in
shoplifting in Los Angeles, compared to a city-wide decline of theft at only 5%.
However, theft may persist (and even see an increase) within stores that remain open
such as grocers, construction supplies, convenience stores, pharmacies, and other
essentialretailers. These thefts may be the result of a change in offender behavior
(i.e., shifting from targeting a specific storenow closed, to another that is open), due
to panic buying (i.e., purchasing limits on essential products may result in theft), or
impacted by reduced guardianship within the stores (e.g., short-staffed employees are
more focused on service than crime prevention).
One of the most exciting illustrations of crime specificity has to do with pocket-
picking the covert removal of a wallet from a pocket or purse in a crowded venue. This
crime thrives on a crowd, perhaps more than any other form. As noted earlier, Swedish
researchers (Gerell et al., 2020) found that pocket-picking decreased by 61% in
Stockholm during the COVID-affected period when crowd-reduction was especially
emphasized. These findings underscore the importance of linking specific changes in
routines to specific types of crime.
Theft may also be moving outside of the physical retail structure and developing in
areas where officially reported came data is not readily available. For example, before
COVID-19 package theft (e.g., packages delivered outside a residence and stolen
before the owner can retrieve them) was a growing concern, and few, if any, police
agencies kept data on the problem (Stickle, Hicks, Stickle, & Hutchinson, 2020).
However, with entire populations confined to their homes, shopping has shifted
virtually, and delivery of products has risen 74% (ACI, 2020). As a result, the
opportunity for theft of packages left unattended at a residence may be increasing
(Stickle, 2020a). While more person may be home, daily routine activities have also
been interrupted, which impact guardianship. As a result, packages left unattended for
extended periods or forgotten altogether (Stickle, 2020b).
These are just a few examples of why examining specific crime types and situations is
vital to criminology. It allows the researcher to identify nuanced changes that are important
when developing future prevention techniques and to test theoretical tools. There are, no
doubt, many factors that are impacting pandemic crime rates, and only by examining them
with specificity can researchers achieve an enhanced understanding of crime.
American Journal of Criminal Justice
Temporal Shift
Temporal understanding of crime is essential because the time of day, day of the week,
months, seasons, and other time-related factors are commonly known to impact crime;
in other words, crime is not evenly distributed across place or time (Brantingham &
Brantingham, 1995). However, stay-at-home orders that have people living, working,
eating, and finding entertainment at home as weekdays merge into weekends may cause
time distinctions to blur when speaking of crime. The change in the populationsroutine
behavior, even at home, is already being seen in online browsing habits and television
use; behavior has shifted to higher viewing rates on Mondays than on the traditional
Saturday (Comcast, 2020). To address these unusual, pandemic-generated changes in
routine activities, criminologists need to examine crime rates in a different temporal
perspective and consider the context of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. However, there
must be more specificity than a pre and post examination of crime trends, and measure-
ments at the state and even community level are needed to ensure accuracy.
We propose the following seven important periods for identification and comparison
of crime rate changes related to the crisis (Table 1).
These measures must be tailored to individual communities or states to coincide with
routine activity trends and government orders. Period 1 should be of sufficient time to
establish some base levels of crime rates. Period 2 is where the beginning of voluntary
behavior changes is likely to be observable, somewhere around mid-February, and
extending until the government ordered quarantines for the general population. During
this time, as concern swept across the nation, many people chose to alter their lifestyles;
schools closed, and other modifications in society likely began to impact crime slowly. For
example, an early study of police calls for service by Mohler et al. (2020) found routine
activities began to change 8 to 10 days before stay-at-home orders were enacted in Los
Angeles, California, and Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as other cities and other nations.
Periods 3 and 4 are contingent onthe length of the government-ordered closures. For
example, if a state was under stay-at-home orders for 4 weeks, we recommend
examining an early period (period 3) as well as a late period (period 4) of two weeks.
Dividing the length of stay-at-home orders by half (or more if the order is longer than
six weeks) will capture the changes in routine activity as the stay-at-home orders
continue. Capturing this data in two or more periods is crucial as the longer the order
continues, the more likely people will begin to violate the order, and crime rates may
Table 1 Summary of the changes in routine activities by period, February to May, 2020
Period approximation Comments
1. Before Mid-February Little change in routine activities
2. Mid-February to Mid-March Soft changes in routine activities appear. Important markers include
closure of schools and suggested stay-at-home order
3. Mid-March to Mid-May Earlier legally imposed stay-at-home orders
4. Mid-May to End of May Later legally imposed stay-at-home orders
5. Ill-defined End of stay-at-home orders phased re-opening begins
6. Ill-defined Phased re-opening continues
American Journal of Criminal Justice
begin to change. For example, early reports in Sweden saw a slight decline in
vandalism (4%), followed by a sharp increase after five weeks into the restrictions.
There is also likely some relationship between non-compliance and crime as Nivette
et al. (2020) found non-compliance with stay-at-home orders was associated with
delinquent behavior. While early reports have not identified the same trends in the
US, news reports during the month of May (Koetsier, 2020) indicated that a large
number of persons were emerging from homes before an official end to the stay-at-
home orders. A rise in crime may be detected because it is possible that the longer the
orders continue, the less effective they become.
Lastly, periods 5 and 6 are difficult to define as the situation is still unfolding at the
time of this publication, as a complete rescinded stay-at-home order has not occurred to
date. Moreover, it is also critical to consider that many individuals who live in an area
where the stay-at-home orders have been partially revoked may still choose not to
return to their daily lives (see a news report by Schaul et al., 2020). This is why it will
be important to capture data starting at the point of a rescinded stay-at-home order and
by measuring crime rates every few weeks after that for an extended period. These
periods may coincide with the phased re-opening plan followed by many governments
(see CDC, 2020) or within a timeframe for several weeks each, which may result in the
need to add continued periods of crime data.
Criminologists do not have to rely on the assumption that people follow stay-at-
home orders. For the first time, Mobility Trend Reports are being offered free (includ-
ing in CSV format) by both Google (2020)andApple(2020). These reports offer
aggregated movement data based on anonymized cell phone location history at the
national, state, and county levels. The data includes daily reports and includes inferred
locations (i.e., retail, grocery, parks, transit, residential, workplace). With this data, it is
possible to compare societal behavior within these recommended periods and gain a
more accurate picture of where people were and importantly when they were there.
Combined with the ability to measure compliance with movement restrictions, crimi-
nologists have the data to examine the routine activities of whole populations at a level
never before possible while overlaying crime rates for both a temporal a place-based
Studying crime based at a place is another critical part of understanding not only crime
trends but also methods to disrupt crime (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). Under the current
circumstances with peoples daily routine disrupted, this is even more important as
people shift to more time within the home, the opportunities and places for offenders
and victims to meet become limited. As a result, there is likely far less crime as people;
both victims and offenders are not together in a place for the crime to occur.
To illustrate, consider workplace violence and crime. With a significant number of
persons at home, rather than work, there is a reduced opportunity for offenders to
assault co-workers. Similarly, there is less opportunity for a victim to have a phone
stolen from the breakroom. It is important to remember that during the COVID-19
crisis, variables commonly related to many other criminological theories (i.e., poverty,
stress, self-control) have not changed to such a degree to explain the sharp reduction in
crime. Instead, the opportunity to be connected to a victim in time and place appears to
American Journal of Criminal Justice
be the most significant variable that has led to a marked reduction in the workplace and
other place-based crimes.
However, in some regards, this place-based shift may result in increased crime rates in
other areas (Roberts, 2020). For example, while digital, the internet can be classified as a
placeor medium for victimization to occur (Machimbarrena et al., 2018). Under the
COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, people are spending significantly more time online. By
late March, for example, cable internet usage, as reported by The Internet and Television
Association (2020), surged more than 30% and continued to grow until mid-April, which
appears to coincide with many of the stay-at-home orders. The increased time using the
internet likely leads to more opportunities for cybercrimes to occur as the victims virtual
presence has shifted dramatically (e.g., away from place-based crime at work or school
and to place-based crime online). Additionally,offendersmayhavealsobeenimpactedby
the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and have increased time to identify victims.
Shifting back to a physical place and crimes, it is also important to evaluate land
usage and population density when considering crime trends. There are emerging
trends in the new COVID-19 crime data suggesting crime differences in certain places
(Ashby, 2020a). For example, public places such as stores, restaurants, and entertain-
ment areas are experiencing sharp decreases in some types of crime (Pietrawska et al.,
2020a), while crime in the home may be remaining consistent (Campbdelli, 2020;
Payne & Morgan, 2020; Shayegh & Malpede, 2020, and mix-land use may see
relatively stable or slightly increasing crime rates (Felson et al., 2020). Here again,
routine activities and rational choice perspectives may explain much of the crime in
these places. For instance, entertainment businesses and districts, along with dine-in
restaurants, were generally closed during the orders. Thus, with fewer offenders
routinely in these places and fewer victims present, crime will naturally decline.
However, a reasoning offender (Cornish & Clarke, 2014) may choose to target areas
with fewer people (i.e., guardians) such as closed malls, business parks, and other
places that may see an increase in property crimes. Additionally, mixed land usage,
especially in population-dense areas, may allow an offender to travel in areas unnoticed
easily and, therefore, present opportunities for crime (Felson et al., 2020).
Place, whether virtual or physical, is a crucial factor in crime. The COVID-19 crisis
has re-shaped the places that persons routinely visit, increasing somehome and
online, while decreasing otherswork, retail, school, and entertainment. Highlighting
the role that place has played in crime rates during the pandemic should influence how
criminologists study crime in a post-pandemic world and lead to further crime reduc-
tion through place-based prevention techniques.
We have listed some initial findings on crime in the COVID-19 era and also described
the need to study crime specifically, temporally, and place-based. Next, we will discuss
data for measuring crime. One problem in criminology, as in other social science fields,
is there are too many variables, too little variation, or an inability to control for specific
variables. However, in the current pandemic, these problems decrease dramatically, and
criminologists should take advantage of the favorable conditions and abundant data.
First, as described in the introduction, few variables changed during the first several
weeks of the pandemic. The most substantial change has been the stay-at-home orders,
American Journal of Criminal Justice
which impacted the routine activities of entire populations. With so few variables
changed, it should be easier to identify and measure significant and substantial changes
in crime. Second, the variation in crime rates has been drastic. On the order of 10%, 20%,
and even sometimes 60% transformation of crime patterns. These significant measurable
changes allow researchers to see pastother variables that have little impact and focus on
the significant variables impacting crime. Third, with entire populations affected by the
pandemic, there is little need for controlling traditional variables such as age, gender,
education, social status, and more. The impacted population is closer to the entire
population rather than a sample population,which means it is possible to move beyond
inferential statistics and measure the actual change in the whole population.
Another challenge for criminologists is crime data. We encourage the use of four
broad categories of data, including official police reports, victim and other self-report
surveys, private or anecdotal data, and public data. Police data is an essential source
during the pandemic. However, with many agencies experiencing workforce-related
issues during the pandemic and purposely reducing the person-to-person contact to
reduce the risk of virus spread, the official police data may underreport crime more than
usual. Further, with more persons staying inside and not venturing out to school and
work, other crimes, such as intimate partner violence and abuse of children, may not be
captured through traditional reporting means. Therefore, it will be important that victim
and self-report surveys continue to be used to help capture data that official reports do
not (see Krohn, Thornberry, Gibson, & Baldwin, 2010).
Other sources of direct crime data and ancillary sources are often overlooked.
Ancillary sources of data can take the form of calls to abuse hotlines, reports on
consumer spending, internet traffic, police call for service, hospital mandatory
reporting on specific injuries, and the Bureau of Labor Statics (2020)dataoninjuries
resulting from violence at the workplace. Additionally, sources from private companies
also provide insight into crime not always reported through official channels. For
example, many retail organizations release data on crime within their stores, credit
card companies release fraud statistics, and insurance organizations publish claims
related to crime victimization. These sources may be particularly important as many
areas where crime is occurring during the COVID-19 crisis are within private spaces,
and obtaining non-police data is essential to understanding the crime shift. Lastly, other
publicly available resources should be included in the analysis as well. Specifically,
Mobility Trend Reports by Apple and Google, which provide detailed information on
population location daily that the county level. This data set, never before publicly
provided, should be used to overlay with other data (see Mohler et al., 2020).
Moving beyond the data to the methods, the circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis
has led to a naturally occurring quasi-random control trial. Because each state-issued
stay-at-home order at different times, under different circumstances, and rescinded
them at different dates, it is possible to compare crime across many population groups.
For example, Kentucky issued an order on March 26th and entered phased re-opening
on May 11th (47 days) while neighboring state Tennessee waited seven more days,
issuing a stay-at-home order on March 31st, and began a phased re-opening on April
27th, fourteen days ahead of its neighbor. These states, which share many demographic
similarities, are ideal for comparison.
In addition to the unequal start and stop dates for state-wide lock-downs, the activities
limited by the orders varied as well; for instance, some states kept parks open while others
American Journal of Criminal Justice
closed them. Similarly, some states outlawed gatherings of 10 or more, while other states
established different criteria. The response to alcohol also creates a valuable point in data
analysis. Examples abound of states that relaxed laws on alcohol sales, such as Kentucky,
which allowed for the first-time home delivery of alcohol and service of alcohol with food
take-out orders during the crisis (Minton, 2020). On the other end of the spectrum, some
states deemed alcohol non-essentialbut changed course after public backlash. For
example, Pennsylvania initially closed liquor stores and created a cascade of persons
traveling outside the state seeking alcohol (Thomas, 2020). Conditions such as these either
between states or even within states are plentiful and provide essential data points that
allow for an excellent comparison of crime and related factors.
The Largest Criminological Experiment in History
There is little doubt that the COVID-19 crisis will impact history on a scale not seen
since WWII. Provisional insights indicate that a substantial drop in crime is occurring
around the world and within the US. However, these reports also indicate the changes
are not even across time, place, or crime type. Therefore, we encourage criminologists
to study this crisis through the use of new and existing sources of crime data, with a
specificity of crime types, in a temporal fashion, and placed based.
Moreover, the leading feature of these crime changes will be that the government
ordered stay-at-home mandates, which impacted the routine activities of entire populations.
The variation in these orders by state and community regarding when the orders were
implemented and rescinded and what restrictions were in place has provided a naturally
occurring, quasi-randomized control experiment. For example, researchers can compare
states and communities that released prisoners early, increased or reduced alcohol avail-
ability, began lock-downs early, crime in public places as opposed to residential and mixed
land use, and operationalize many variables that were previously intangible or inarticulable.
The findings emerging from the COVID-19 crisis will impact criminological theo-
ries for the next several decades. We encourage researchers to embark on in-depth
explorations of the data made available from the pandemic and to search for not only
why, where, when, and to what extent crime fell, but also how to use this knowledge
for practical applications after the world returns to normaland concludes this exper-
iment in crime reduction and extraordinary test of human determination and resiliency.
Funding Information No funding was received for this research.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of Interest The authors report no conflicts of interest.
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loss in the age of Covid-19: Crime in Los Angeles and Chicago during Covid-19. CAP Index, Issue 19.3.
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PublishersNote Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and
institutional affiliations.
Ben Stickle is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State Univer-
sity. He holds a Ph.D. in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville. Ben has nearly twenty years
of law enforcement and private security experience. He has published several scholarly journal articles, book
chapters, and a book. Bens research interests include policing, crime prevention, and property crime (metal
theft & package theft).
Marcus Felson originated the routine activity approach to crime rate analysis. He is anexpert in how to think
about crime in very tangible terms and how to reduce it using such thinking. His books include Crime and
Nature (Sage, 2006) as well as Crime and Everyday Life, now in its sixth edition. His work is increasingly
applied to crime reduction and to explain diverse crime problems, including gangs, drug sales, robberies,
burglaries, fights, organized crime, and cybercrime.
American Journal of Criminal Justice

Supplementary resource (1)

... Based on the Routine Activities Theory (RAT), any phenomenon such as COVID-19 that leads to increased time at home, restricted access to public places, and increased dependency on online services will increase victimisation. When vaccines were still in the trial phase and infection in some cases increased exponentially, countries issued 'shelter in place' or 'stay at home' orders to control the spread of the virus (Gallagher, 2020;Smith & Teague, 2020;Stickle & Felson, 2020). While the COVID-19 pandemic is not believed to be a permanent state, it appears to be longlasting with an undefined end state. ...
... Initial evidence suggests that crimes associated with being at home or extended personal contact have increased, such as domestic violence, intrafamilial assaults, nuisance complaints and private parties with illegal drugs (Campedelli et al., 2020;Mohler et al., 2020). However, the recorded changes in other crimes have been inconsistent across categories, types, places, and timeframes (Stickle & Felson, 2020). Stickle and Felson (2020) highlighted the fact that a review of the post-COVID-19 literature shows that many criminological theories are struggling to explain the abrupt and often sweeping changes in crime patterns. ...
... However, the recorded changes in other crimes have been inconsistent across categories, types, places, and timeframes (Stickle & Felson, 2020). Stickle and Felson (2020) highlighted the fact that a review of the post-COVID-19 literature shows that many criminological theories are struggling to explain the abrupt and often sweeping changes in crime patterns. Note that in this study 'post-COVID-19' refers to the period after the start of the pandemic rather than its cessation. ...
Full-text available
The study examined the changes in online routines, cybercrime rates and the applicability of the Routine Activities Theory (RAT) resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The RAT proposes that, upon the spatiotemporal convergence of an offender and target, a crime event results from an offender's rational but subjective assessment of a target's suitability and level of guardianship. The study used cybercrime victimisation data collected with a self-administered survey pre-and post-COVID-19 (N = 149 Facebook users of varying ages, ethnicities, and geographic locations within The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago). The change in online routine, cybercrime rate and their relationship to COVID-19 were assessed using Bayesian t-tests,-tests and Propensity Score Matching. Additionally, pre-and post-COVID-19 classification models were compared to identify any change in the utility of the RAT. The study found that there was a general increase in online routine activities particularly those resulting in increased time spent online and accessing pornographic content. Further, the predictors of victimisation changed, and the predictive accuracy of the classification model decreased. However, it was determined that cybercrime victimisation rates decreased post-COVID-19 and that the change had a causal dependence on the implementation of guardianship measures. The study concluded that increased use of technical guardianship measures such as the use of protective software and implementation of browser security protocols led to the decreased rate of victimisation, particularly as cybercrime shifted from interpersonal crimes to techno-centric cybercrimes. However, the study was limited due to the use of chain referral sampling and the fact that a control group could not be used because this was a global 'treatment'. The findings suggest that increased focus by policymakers on targeting hardening and removal measures through the implementation of technical guardianship and cyber-safety awareness and education can help reduce cybercrime victimisation. This study highlights the need for further research into motivations for protective online behaviour and the role of exogenous shocks in changing crime and behavioural patterns. ___________________________________________________________________________ 37 ongoing international projects focusing on the areas of cybercrime, problematic social media use and the effect of exogenous shocks on crime patterns. He also actively seeks to enhance research within the social sciences through the use of alternative statistical methods where appropriate; for example, the use of Bayesian analysis and Rasch measurement. He has over fourteen years of experience working in the area of national security in various specialty areas within Trinidad and Tobago. He is currently one of the directors of Research Analysis Inquiry and Development, a research non-profit entity focused on producing quality multidisciplinary research within the Caribbean. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
... Soon thereafter, researchers in the hard and social sciences began to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily life. A growing amount of literature has since emerged, examining the impact of the pandemic on a wide array of outcomes, including crime in particular (Stickle & Felson, 2020;. For present purposes, we focus on the extent to which various policies associated with containing the spread of COVID-19 may have affected violence in NYC. ...
... A burgeoning research agenda has begun to document the overwhelmingly detrimental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related governmental restrictions and lock-down policies on more serious forms of antisocial and offending behavior (Stickle & Felson, 2020). An increase in domestic violence perpetrated by adults appears has been well documented, with initial increases reported in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. (e.g., Campbell, 2020;Piquero, Jennings, Jemison, Kaukinen, & Knaul, 2021;Richards, Nix, Mourtgos, & Adams, 2021), though the limited examination of juvenile-perpetrated family violence points to a decreasing trend (Baglivio, Wolff, Reid, Jackson, & Piquero, 2022). ...
In early 2020, the world faced a rapid, life-changing, public health crisis in the form of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic and its associated social-distancing measures collided with a period of social unrest following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and persisted for nearly two years following its emergence. The current study adds to existing research by examining the effect of these events on the incidence of violence (shootings and assaults) in New York City (NYC) over a longer period of time, both in the city as a whole and at the borough-level. To accomplish this, the current study draws from publicly available data using series of analytical techniques to account for underlying trends, seasonality, and temperature while also estimating borough-specific effects. Results indicate that the prevalence of COVID-19 cases, associated social-distancing mandates, and the period of social unrest following Floyd's murder were associated with violence in NYC. Further, findings suggest while a number of the factors explored had consistent effects across each of NYC's five boroughs there was some evidence of heterogeneity. The implications for future research on the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.
... In a similar vein, preliminary findings indicate that the stay-at-home restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic affected crime trends, with different effects by type of crime and location (Ashby 2020a;Boman & Gallupe, 2020aKim & Leung, 2020;Kirchmaier & Villa-Llera, 2020;Shayegh & Malpede, 2020;Stickle & Felson, 2020). An examination of citizen telephone calls to the police in ten big cities in the USA showed that assault calls dropped significantly in Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Seattle, whereas no significant change was observed in other cities. ...
... Moreover, due to the staying-at-home orders, the opportunities for teenagers and motivated offenders to meet potential victims were reduced, and as a result, violent crime has decreased. As Stickle and Felson (2020), noted, the staying-at-home restrictions have changed daily routine activities and as a result, the violent crime was interrupted. Another aspect is related to greater police presence in the public sphere (capable guardianship), aimed to enforce the social restrictions, which may have also affected the decrease in assault crime rates. ...
... Similarly, the Associated Press reported that the number of public mass shootings for the year was the lowest it had been in more than a decade (Pane, 2020). Such findings are not entirely surprising, particularly when considered from a routine activity perspective (Felson & Eckert, 2019, Schildkraut et al., 2019Stickle & Felson, 2020)-the pandemic effectively reduced the opportunity for motivated offenders (mass shooters) to converge with suitable targets (victims) in settings absent capable guardians (public spaces). ...
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought much of U.S. society to a grinding halt, its impact on the occurrence of mass shootings is largely unknown. Using data from the Gun Violence Archive and an interrupted time-series design, we analyzed weekly counts of mass shootings in the U.S. from 2019 through 2021. Results show that total, private, and public mass shootings increased following the declaration of COVID-19 as a national emergency in March of 2020. We consider these findings in the context of their broader implications for prevention efforts as well as how they pave the way for future research.
... Safety concerns along with socioeconomic stress lead to several issues within and outside the household including domestic violence and specifically, intimate partner violence (IPV). As informed by Stickle and Felson (2020) an almost 50% increase in domestic violence cases was reported across the globe during the first six weeks of the lockdown. This created a crisis within a crisis and drew immediate attention from the relevant stakeholders. ...
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Cases of intimate partner violence increased manifold across the world during COVID-19. Researchers have been trying to find out indigenous factors leading to such behaviors, especially among men. Using the lens of the exosystem factor model of ecological theory, we designed the current study to identify the socioeconomic factors in deciding on the intensity of intimate partner violence and its subsequent impact on the psychological and physical wellbeing of women. In this regard, financial autonomy and asset ownership status of women, as well as financial issues and drug abuse among men, were studied as major factors. The study also investigated the moderating role of the asset ownership status of women. A multistage cluster sampling technique was used to collect data from 1516 females in three waves through trained enumerators. We analyzed the moderated mediation model using the structural equation modeling (SEM) technique in AMOS version 26. Results indicated that financial autonomy and asset ownership status of women are negatively related to intimate partner violence and positively related to the psychological and physical wellbeing of women. Similarly, financial issues and drug abuse among men were found positively related to intimate partner violence and negatively related to the psychological and physical wellbeing of women. The interaction effect of the asset ownership status of women was also significant. Overall, significant moderated mediation was found. The results have several implications for various stakeholders including society, policymakers, and researchers. The study has extended the validity of the exosystem factor model of ecological theory and significantly contributed to the literature on intimate partner violence. Especially the moderating role of the asset ownership status of women based on their inherited assets was a significant contribution, especially in the context of the recent enforcement of "Women's Property Rights Act 2021" by Pakistan.
“IoT” (Internet of Things), “IIoT” (Industrial Internet of Things), “CPS” (Cyber‐Physical Systems) are the common terms that are used to describe the ecosystem of these “smart things”. This chapter focuses on security issues within IoT devices in a smart home environment. It aims to study authentication mechanisms in smart home systems with a focus on mutual authentication as a solution to improve the security posture of smart home devices. The chapter gives an overview of a smart connected home system, security issues and solutions in smart devices, a primer on mutual Transport Layer Security, key management practices, mutual authentication in smart home systems and its challenges as well as open research items. Three categories of mutual authentication occur: between the user and the gateway, between the gateway and the smart devices, between the user and the smart devices.
Der Beitrag gibt einen einführenden Forschungsüberblick zum Verhältnis zwischen COVID-19 und Korruption. In den bisherigen Veröffentlichungen zu dieser Thematik lassen sich im Wesentlichen zwei Wirkungsmechanismen oder Erklärungsrichtungen ausmachen: es wird angenommen, dass sich entweder Korruption nachteilig auf die Eindämmung der Pandemie auswirkt, oder dass bestimmte Merkmale der Pandemiebekämpfung verschiedene Formen devianten Handelns bis hin zur Korruption begünstigen. Korruptionsrelevante Auswirkungen von Maßnahmen zur Seucheneindämmung auf Demokratie und Zivilgesellschaft sind ebenfalls öfters Thema einschlägiger Publikationen. Die Einführung schließt mit einer kurzen Vorstellung der weiteren Beiträge des Sammelbands.
Der Beitrag gibt einen Überblick über bekannt gewordene Fälle von Betrug, Korruption und politisch-administrativer Misswirtschaft in der Corona-Pandemie geordnet nach den Themengebieten Beschaffung von Atemschutzmasken, COVID-19-Schutzimpfungen, Corona-Tests und Wirtschaftshilfen. Außerdem werden einige korruptionsrelevante Auswirkungen der Pandemie auf Demokratie und Zivilgesellschaft in der Bundesrepublik erörtert. Im Zentrum der Schlussbetrachtung steht die Anwendung eines theoretischen Ansatzes aus der politischen Ökonomie auf die zuvor skizzierten Fälle.
The authors discuss the mental health problems that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health manifested as a lifestyle disorder that is being experienced by everybody all around the world. The authors discuss a range of mental health problems that are due to COVID-19. Their prevalence and implications are assessed. In order to provide perspective, research from India and other countries is cited. The causes and consequences of mental health problems associated with COVID-19 are analyzed. In India, mental health problems were on the rise even before the pandemic. The pandemic, however, greatly exacerbated these problems. Stress, anxiety, and depression became a part of everyone’s life. No one was spared. Strong public health measures to contain the pandemic including the prohibition of movement and isolation took their toll. Being away from work, school, and peers, adjusting to new ways of working and learning, and dealing with job loss were all stressful. Fake news and miscommunication further fueled the problem. A large section of the population was forced to re-invent its workplace, often in unfavorable environments, resulting in a deep sense of unease. Research shows that because of uncertainties related to finances, work pressure, and jobs, there was a rise in the number of cases of mental illness. The number of suicides also increased. Research in India and other countries underscores that COVID-19 compounded all these problems. Stringent public health measures imposed by all governments, although necessary for containing the pandemic, had a major impact on the psychological state of people. Fear, anxiety, and anger are some of its psychological consequences. Anxiety producing information in the media accentuated these problems. Pre-occupation with the pandemic resulted in a neglect of the mental well-being of the patients, healthcare professionals, and frontline workers. This caused psychological distress that varied from panic attacks and collective hysteria to pervasive feelings of hopelessness and desperation including suicidal behavior. The psychological wellness of individuals was influenced unfavorably by lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic that included isolation, limited mobility, social stigma, and ever-spreading misinformation and fake news on web-based platforms. Violence against women and girls was also exacerbated during the pandemic. Violence took place not only within the home but also in other spaces. Violence was severe among migrant workers, health workers, and sex workers. The authors underscore the urgent need for setting- up hotlines, crises centers, shelters, legal-aid, and counseling services. The pandemic might be the much-needed wake-up call to make long-term improvements in India’s healthcare system. It offers an opportunity for India to take greater cognizance of mental health problems and to integrate services to address these problems within the primary healthcare system.
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The covid-19 disease has a large impact on life across the globe, and this could potentially include impacts on crime. The present study describes how crime has changed in Sweden during ten weeks after the government started to implement interventions to reduce spread of the disease. Sweden has undertaken smaller interventions than many other countries and is therefore a particularly interesting case to study. The first major interventions in Sweden were implemented in the end of week 11 (March 12th) in the year 2020, and we analyze police reported crimes through week 21 (ending May 24th). Descriptive statistics are provided relative to expected levels with 95% confidence intervals for eight crime types. We find that total crime, assaults, pickpocketing and burglary have decreased significantly, personal robberies and narcotics crime are unchanged. Vandalism possibly increased somewhat but is hard to draw any firm conclusions on. The reductions are fairly small for most crime types, in the 5-20% range, with pickpocketing being the biggest exception noting a 59% drop relative to expected levels.
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Rationale: Adolescents and young adults were identified internationally as a group with potentially low compliance rates with public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although non-compliance research during pandemics has typically focused on concurrent correlates, less is known about how prior social and psychological risk factors are associated with non-compliance during pandemics. Objective: This paper leverages a prospective-longitudinal cohort study with data before and during the pandemic to describe patterns of non-compliance with COVID- 19 related public health measures in young adults and to identify which characteristics increase the risk of non-compliance. Methods: Data came from an ongoing cohort study in Zurich, Switzerland (n=737). Non-compliance with public health measures and concurrent correlates were measured at age 22. Antecedent sociodemographic, social, and psychological factors were measured at ages 15-20. Young adults generally complied with COVID-19 public health measures, although non-compliance with some measures (e.g., cleaning/disinfecting mobile phones, standing 1.5-2 meters apart) was relatively higher. Results: Non-compliance, especially with hygiene-related measures, was more prevalent in males, and in individuals with higher education, higher SES, and a nonmigrant background. Non-compliance was higher in young adults who had previously scored high on indicators of "antisocial potential," including low acceptance of moral rules, pre-pandemic legal cynicism, low shame/guilt, low self-control, engagement in delinquent behaviors, and association with delinquent peers. Young adults with low trust, including in the government's measures for fighting the virus, also complied less. Conclusions: In order to increase voluntary compliance with COVID-19 measures, public health campaigns should implement strategies that foster moral obligation and trust in authorities, or leverage trustworthy individuals in the community to disseminate information. For young adults with low self-control, self-monitoring, environmental restructuring, or nudging may increase compliance. Long-term investments into integrating youth with antisocial potential into society may decrease rule-breaking behaviors, including during pandemics when compliance saves lives.
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Abstract The spread of the coronavirus has led to containment policies in many places, with concomitant shifts in routine activities. Major declines in crime have been reported as a result. However, those declines depend on crime type and may differ by parts of a city and land uses. This paper examines burglary in Detroit, Michigan during the month of March, 2020, a period of considerable change in routine activities. We examine 879 block groups, separating those dominated by residential land use from those with more mixed land use. We divide the month into three periods: pre-containment, transition period, and post-containment. Burglaries increase in block groups with mixed land use, but not blocks dominated by residential land use. The impact of containment policies on burglary clarifies after taking land use into account.
Technical Report
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The problem Package Theft refers to stealing a package after it has been left unattended (often on a porch) by a commercial delivery organization. This type of offence has only recently been recognised (see Hicks, Stickle, & Harms, in press). Nevertheless, it has gained significant attention in social media posts and news reports, which have colloquially referred to the crime as porch piracy and offenders as porch pirates. What we know about package theft and how we know it Very little is known about package theft as few, if any, police agencies keep separate statistics on incidents. Survey data in the United States find that between 18% and 36% of households have been victims of porch piracy, and around 50% know of an acquaintance or family member who has been a victim. One study estimated there were 90,000 stolen, mis-delivered or missing packages each day in New York City alone. Further, this crime can be very costly, as the value of items being shipped has been steadily increasing. Motivations for committing package theft have not been empirically assessed, but potential explanations for engaging in this offence include offender perceptions of financial or material gain and the possibility that some offenders act on impulses that pertain to thrill-seeking behaviour. It is also assumed to be low risk.
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Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic led to substantial changes in the daily activities of millions of Americans, with many businesses and schools closed, public events cancelled and states introducing stay-at-home orders. This article used police-recorded open crime data to understand how the frequency of common types of crime changed in 16 large cities across the United States in the early months of 2020. Seasonal auto-regressive integrated moving average (SARIMA) models of crime in previous years were used to forecast the expected frequency of crime in 2020 in the absence of the pandemic. The forecasts from these models were then compared to the actual frequency of crime during the early months of the pandemic. There were no significant changes in the frequency of serious assaults in public or (contrary to the concerns of policy makers) any change to the frequency of serious assaults in residences. In some cities, there were reductions in residential burglary but little change in non-residential burglary. Thefts of motor vehicles decreased in some cities while there were diverging patterns of thefts from motor vehicles. These results are used to make suggestions for future research into the relationships between the coronavirus pandemic and different crimes.
Full-text available
Governments have implemented social distancing measures to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The measures include instructions that individuals maintain social distance when in public, school closures, limitations on gatherings and business operations, and instructions to remain at home. Social distancing may have an impact on the volume and distribution of crime. Crimes such as residential burglary may decrease as a byproduct of increased guardianship over personal space and property. Crimes such as domestic violence may increase because of extended periods of contact between potential offenders and victims. Understanding the impact of social distancing on crime is critical for ensuring the safety of police and government capacity to deal with the evolving crisis. Understanding how social distancing policies impact crime may also provide insights into whether people are complying with public health measures. Examination of the most recently available data from both Los Angeles, CA, and Indianapolis, IN, shows that social distancing has had a statistically significant impact on a few specific crime types. However, the overall effect is notably less than might be expected given the scale of the disruption to social and economic life.
The coronavirus pandemic poses multiple challenges for policing, including the need to continue responding to calls from the public. Several contingency plans warned police to expect a large and potentially overwhelming increase in demand from the public during a pandemic, but (to the author's knowledge) there is no empirical work on police demand during a major public-health emergency. This study used calls-for-service data from ten large cities in the United States to analyse how calls for service changed during the early months of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, compared to forecasts of call volume based on data from previous years. Contrary to previous warnings, overall the number of calls went down during the early weeks of the pandemic. There were substantial reductions in specific call types, such as traffic collisions, and significant increases others, such as calls to dead bodies. Other types of call, particularly those relating to crime and order maintenance, continued largely as before. Changes in the frequency of different call types present challenges to law enforcement agencies, particularly since many will themselves be suffering from reduced staffing due to the pandemic. Understanding changes to calls in detail will allow police leaders to put in place evidence-based plans to ensure they can continue to serve the public.
At the time of writing, there was 3.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 300,000 deaths worldwide. Not since the Spanish Flu in 1918 has the world experienced such a widespread pandemic and this has motivated many countries across globe to take unprecedented actions in an effort to curb the spread and impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Among these government and regulatory interventions includes stringent domestic and international travel restrictions as well as a raft of stay-at-home and social distancing regulations. The scale of these containment measures has left criminologists wondering what impact this will have on crime in both the short- and long-term. In this study, we examine officially recorded property crime rates for the month of March, 2020, as reported for the state of Queensland, Australia. We use ARIMA modeling techniques to compute six-month-ahead forecasts of property damage, shop theft, other-theft, burglary, fraud, and motor vehicle theft rates and then compare these forecasts (and their 95\% confidence intervals) with the observed data for March 2020. We conclude that the observed rates of reported property offending across Queensland were significantly lower than expected for shop theft, other theft and credit-card fraud but statistically unchanged for property damage, burglary and motor-vehicle theft.
The covid-19 disease has a large impact on life across the globe, including on crime. The present short report describes how crime has changed in Sweden during five weeks after the government started to implement interventions to reduce spread of the disease. The first major interventions in Sweden were implemented in the end of week 11 in the year 2020, and we analyze police reported crimes through week 16. Descriptive statistics are provided relative to expected levels with 90% confidence intervals for eight crime types. We find that total crime, violence and burglary have decreased significantly, personal robberies and narcotics crime are at expected levels, and vandalism has increased. The reductions are fairly small for most crime types, in the 10-15% range, with residential burglary being the exception with a 38% drop relative to expected levels.
Background: Do young adults have low compliance rates with public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? This paper leverages a prospective-longitudinal cohort study with data before and during the pandemic to examine this question.Methods: Data came from an ongoing cohort study (n=737). Non-compliance with public health measures and concurrent correlates were measured at age 22. Antecedent sociodemographic, social, and psychological factors were measured at ages 15-20.Findings: Young adults generally complied with COVID-19 public health measures, although compliance with some measures (e.g., cleaning/disinfecting mobile phones, standing 1.5-2 meters apart) was relatively lower. Non-compliance, especially with hygiene-related measures, was more prevalent in males, and in individuals with higher education, higher SES, and a non- migrant background. Non-compliance was associated with “antisocial potential,” including pre-pandemic low acceptance of moral rules, legal cynicism, low shame/guilt, low self-control, engagement in delinquent behaviors, and association with delinquent peers. Young adults with low trust, including in the government’s measures for fighting the virus, also complied less.Interpretation: In order to increase voluntary compliance with COVID-19 measures, public health campaigns should implement strategies that foster moral obligation and trust in authorities, or leverage trustworthy individuals in the community to disseminate information. For young adults with low self-control, self-monitoring, environmental restructuring, or nudging may increase compliance. Long-term investments into integrating antisocial youth into society may decrease rule-breaking behaviors, including during pandemics when compliance saves lives.