A global analysis of the impact of COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions on crime

Amy E. Nivette*, Renee Zahnow, Raul Aguilar, Andri Ahven, Shai Amram, Barak Ariel, María José Arosemena Burbano, Roberta Astolfi, Dirk Baier, Hyung Min Bark, Joris E.H. Beijers, Marcelo Bergman, Gregory Breetzke, I. Alberto Concha-Eastman, Sophie Curtis-Ham, Ryan Davenport, Carlos Díaz, Diego Fleitas, Manne Gerell, Kwang Ho JangJuha Kääriäinen, Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Woon Sik Lim, Rosa Loureiro Revilla, Lorraine Mazerolle, Gorazd Meško, Noemí Pereda, Maria F.T. Peres, Rubén Poblete-Cazenave, Simon Rose, Robert Svensson, Nico Trajtenberg, Tanja van der Lippe, Joran Veldkamp, Carlos J.Vilalta Perdomo, Manuel P. Eisner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


The stay-at-home restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 led to unparalleled sudden change in daily life, but it is unclear how they affected urban crime globally. We collected data on daily counts of crime in 27 cities across 23 countries in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We conducted interrupted time series analyses to assess the impact of stay-at-home restrictions on different types of crime in each city. Our findings show that the stay-at-home policies were associated with a considerable drop in urban crime, but with substantial variation across cities and types of crime. Meta-regression results showed that more stringent restrictions over movement in public space were predictive of larger declines in crime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-877
Number of pages10
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank M. Ryn for assistance with coordinating data collection, and S. Castello for assistance with organization and coordination between collaborators. The research in this paper is financially supported by the Utrecht University Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences COVID-19 Fund. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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