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Effects of COVID‐19 shutdowns on domestic violence in US cities

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  • Miller, Amalia R.
  • Segal, Carmit
  • Spencer, Melissa K.

Abstract

We empirically investigate the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns on domestic violence using incident-level data on both domestic-related calls for service and crime reports of domestic violence assaults from the 18 major US police departments for which both types of records are available. Although we confirm prior reports of an increase in domestic calls for service at the start of the pandemic, we find that the increase preceded mandatory shutdowns, and there was an incremental decline following the government imposition of restrictions. We also find no evidence that domestic violence crimes increased. Rather, police reports of domestic violence assaults declined significantly during the initial shutdown period. There was no significant change in intimate partner homicides during shutdown months and victimization survey reports of intimate partner violence were lower. Our results fail to support claims that shutdowns increased domestic violence and suggest caution before drawing inference or basing policy solely on data from calls to police.

Suggested Citation

  • Miller, Amalia R. & Segal, Carmit & Spencer, Melissa K., 2022. "Effects of COVID‐19 shutdowns on domestic violence in US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:131:y:2022:i:c:s0094119022000535
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2022.103476
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    Cited by:

    1. Nielson, Kyler R. & Zhang, Yan & Ingram, Jason R., 2022. "The impact of COVID-19 on police officer activities," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    2. Colagrossi, Marco & Deiana, Claudio & Dragone, Davide & Geraci, Andrea & Giua, Ludovica & Iori, Elisa, 2023. "Intimate partner violence and help-seeking: The role of femicide news," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    3. Bhuller, Manudeep & Dahl, Gordon B. & Løken, Katrine V. & Mogstad, Magne, 2022. "Domestic Violence and the Mental Health and Well-being of Victims and Their Children," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 21/2022, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Domestic violence; COVID-19 pandemic; Crime reporting; Police data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R28 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Government Policy

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