Leeds academics to investigate Covid-19 crimes


The impact of Covid-19 on crime in England will be interrogated by Leeds academics, thanks to a £666,000 grant.

A team of six researchers from the University of Leeds and UCL were successfully awarded the funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), following a call for projects looking at the implications of Covid-19 policies on wider society.

The 18-month project, led by Graham Farrell, Professor of Crime Science at the University of Leeds, will work with Metropolitan Police, Durham and Lancashire constabularies to collate information and data about the levels and types of crimes following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The pandemic has changed the face of crime.

Professor Graham Farrell, School of Law

Professor Farrell said: “The pandemic has changed the face of crime. Some crimes such as shoplifting decreased due to shop closures, and burglary due to increased guardianship as people stayed home.

“However there is some evidence that crimes including domestic violence and various types of fraud have increased. Online crime opportunities have increased with more people working remotely and with increased online leisure activities.”

He added: “We will also try to anticipate the effects of various possible scenarios as lockdown is rolled back, hoping to increase the chances of maintaining any gains in reduced crime and trying to avoid offenders ‘making up for lost crime’.”

A graph that shows changes in mobility in different areas (shaded) compared to changes in crime rates (dark line).Graph that shows changes in mobility in different areas (shaded) compared to changes in crime rates (dark line). 

The researchers will work with a national advisory group from the Home Office, The College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and draw on expertise from around the world through an international advisory group of scholars from Australia, the Netherlands and the USA. 

The team of researchers includes Dr Dan Birks, Anthony Dixon and Emily Sheard from the School of Law, Professor Nick Malleson from the School of Geography, and three academics from UCL.

Further information 

For more information please contact the University of Leeds press office by emailing pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk.