Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Domestic Violence in Los Angeles

35 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2020

See all articles by Amalia R. Miller

Amalia R. Miller

University of Virginia - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Carmit Segal

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Melissa K. Spencer

University of Virginia

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

Around the world, policymakers and news reports have warned that domestic violence (DV) could increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant restrictions on individual mobility and commercial activity. However, both anecdotal accounts and academic research have found inconsistent effects of the pandemic on DV across measures and cities. We use high-frequency, real-time data from Los Angeles on 911 calls, crime incidents, arrests, and calls to a DV hotline to study the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns on DV. We find conflicting effects within that single city and even across measures from the same source. We also find varying effects between the initial shutdown period and the one following the initial re-opening. DV calls to police and to the hotline increased during the initial shutdown, but DV crimes decreased, as did arrests for those crimes. The period following re-opening showed a continued decrease in DV crimes and arrests, as well as decreases in calls to the police and to the hotline. Our results highlight the heterogeneous effects of the pandemic across DV measures and caution against relying on a single data type or source.

Keywords: domestic violence, COVID-19, pandemic, crime reporting, police data

JEL Classification: I18, J12, J16, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Miller, Amalia R. and Segal, Carmit and Spencer, Melissa K., Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Domestic Violence in Los Angeles. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3726443 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3726443

Amalia R. Miller (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.virginia.edu/~am5by/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Carmit Segal

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

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Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/carmitsegal/

Melissa K. Spencer

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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