A new paper examines crime data before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and makes some interesting findings.

The pandemic appears to have had a marked effect on crime, as criminal incidents and arrests for many offenses plummeted just before stay-at-home orders were issued, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Public Economics. Shootings and homicides, however, saw no such decline.

The paper concludes that the decline isn’t a result of changes in crime reporting.

More from the paper:

The onset of the global pandemic in the U.S. in the Spring of 2020 had a massive impact on almost all types of crime. It led to a decline in both violent and property crime by 19% overall. The effect on drug crimes was substantially larger – about 65% on average in the cities examined. The decline in crime began prior to SAH orders and coincided closely in time to the substantial drop in mobility.

Some of the specific categories with the largest declines were theft (28%), simple assault (33%), and rape (39%). Not all crime rates fell – in particular as people spent more time at home, commercial burglaries rose by 38% and car thefts in some cities rose dramatically. Some types of serious violent crime seemed unaffected by the pandemic onset, notably homicide and shootings. Arrests followed similar, although even more pronounced
patterns as crime reports.

While most cities experienced a significant drop in crime, there was substantial variation across cities. The following cities saw overall crime rates drop by at least 35%: Pittsburgh, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Chicago.