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Dana Scott Publications

Publish Date
Discussion Paper

Using city-level crime data for six major U.S. cities from Jan 21 to May 30 2020, we document an approximately 20% average reduction in reported crimes during March, simultaneous with sharp economic downturn and heightened social distancing restrictions. We also decompose trends by crime type and location. Our key findings are:

  • Since the steep 20% crime drop in March, overall rates have steadily risen but remain below pre-pandemic levels on average.
  • Crimes committed in commercial and street settings (as opposed to residential areas) account for most of the drop in crimes.
  • Violent crimes decline in similar proportion to nonviolent crimes.
  • Though larcenies fall by one-third, other kinds of theft like burglary and auto theft rise.

Caveats to our findings include the possibility of simultaneous changes in reporting and policing activities.

Discussion Paper

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic reduction in employment and hours worked in the US economy. The decline can be measured using conventional data sources such as the Current Population Survey and in the number of individuals filing for unemployment. However, given the unprecedented pace of the ongoing changes to labor market conditions, detailed, up-to-date, high frequency data on wages, employment, and hours of work is needed. Such data can provide insights into how firms and workers have been affected by the pandemic so far, and how those effects differ by type of firm and worker wage level. It can also be used to detail – in real time – the state of the labor market.