New Preprint: “Coronavirus and crime: Social distancing, lockdown and the mobility elasticity of crime”
We have just published a new paper (DOI 10.31235/osf.io/4qzca) on the social sciences preprint archive SocArXiv. The paper examines the recent changes in crime rates that have come about as the UK entered lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some crimes increase or decrease following the change in mobility quite closely, others less so. The paper is available here: https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/4qzca/
Governments around the world restricted movement of people, using social distancing and lockdowns, to help stem the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We examine the effect of restricted mobility on crime for one UK police force area. One week after lockdown, all recorded crime had declined 41% with variation by type: shoplifting (-62%), theft (-52%), domestic abuse (-45%), theft from vehicle (-43%), assault (-36%), burglary dwelling (-25%) and burglary non-dwelling (-25%), compared to their expected rates. There were pre-lockdown spikes in shoplifting and assaults. We use area-specific Google Covid-19 Consumer Mobility Reports to calculate the mobility elasticity of crime for four crime types, finding shoplifting elastic to reduced grocery sector mobility (MEC > 2), burglary dwelling elastic to increases in residential area mobility (-1), with assault and theft from motor vehicle inelastic but still responsive to reduced movement under lockdown (0.48 and 0.69 respectively). We identify implications for theory, policy and future research.
COVID-19 and crime; mobility and crime; Google COVID-19 consumer mobility reports; mobility elasticity of crime; crime decline; crime drop.