FASS News, Research, Criminology

How COVID-19 lockdowns affected crime in Vancouver

August 03, 2022

Simon Fraser University (SFU) criminologist Martin Andresen researches the geographical and social factors associated with crime. His study on Vancouver, BC crime during the COVID-19 lockdown revealed some predictable trends amid the sudden social experiment of the pandemic.

According to researchers, criminal events vary across urban, social and demographic areas. Professor Martin Andresen is a criminologist and associate member of SFU’s Department of Geography who investigates environmental criminology—the study of criminal behaviour as it correlates with social environment using applied spatial statistics and geographical information analysis.

In the sudden, natural experiment of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, Andresen wanted to understand if there were any significant changes in the types and numbers of crimes in Vancouver, British Columbia. He collaborated with Criminology Professor Tarah Hodgkinson from Wilfrid Laurier University to analyse 10 types of crimes in 22 Vancouver neighbourhoods. The study revealed that the pandemic did change crime in the city—in some predictable ways. For example, property crime in downtown areas decreased as businesses closed. However, property-related crimes increased in the wealthier neighbourhoods of Vancouver as people began to work from home.