The COVID-19 pandemic is strongly affecting many aspects of human life and society around the world. To investigate whether this pandemic also influences crime, the differences of crime incidents numbers before and during the pandemic in four large cities (namely Washington DC, Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles) are investigated. Moreover, the Granger causal relationships between crime incidents numbers and new cases of COVID-19 are also examined. Based on that, new cases of COVID-19 with significant Granger causal correlations are used to improve the crime prediction performance. The results show that crime is generally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it varies in different cities and with different crime types. Most types of crimes have seen fewer incidents numbers during the pandemic than before. Several Granger causal correlations are found between the COVID-19 cases and crime incidents in these cities. More specifically, crime incidents numbers of theft in DC, Chicago and New York City, fraud in DC and Los Angeles, assault in Chicago and New York City, and robbery in Los Angeles and New York City, are significantly Granger caused by the new case of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most serious global public health events in recent years. The onset and spread of COVID-19 have affected nearly every continent. People's daily lives and the whole society have been drastically influenced around the world , , . For example, in many cities, traffic is completely restricted [4, 5]; non-essential businesses have closed for a very long time; travel became more and more difficult; and social gatherings are limited [6, 7]. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge challenge to education activities [8, 9], many courses are moved online. At the same time, unemployment among many groups of workers increased sharply [10, 11]. What's more serious is that the pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life, economic losses and social disruption worldwide, presenting an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems, and public safety . This also raises attention to other questions related to our lives and security. Does the COVID-19 pandemic have an impact on crime? If so, is this impact strong or weak? If the COVID-19 pandemic has a strong impact on crime, will the pandemic be a factor for analyzing
This study investigates the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on crimes in four large cities (namely Washington DC, Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles). The differences of crime incidents numbers before and during the pandemic are investigated, and the Granger causal relationships between crime incidents numbers and new cases of COVID-19 are examined. Then, significant correlations between COVID-19 and crimes are used to improve the crime prediction performance.
Overall, the result shows that crime is indeed impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it varies in different cities and also with different crime types. Most types of crimes have seen fewer incidents numbers during the pandemic than before. For example, theft numbers decrease significantly in these cities. Moreover, in three of the US cities, theft numbers are proved Granger caused by the new cases of COVID-19. For some other crime types and cities, similar results are reported. This may be partially explained by the Routine Activity theory and opportunity theory that people may prefer to stay at home to avoid being infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic, giving fewer chances for crimes.