Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on crime: a spatial-temporal analysis in Edinburgh
In response to the further prevalence of COVID-19, Scotland implemented a mandatory lockdown in March 2020, which had an impact on people's daily activities and lifestyles, thereby affecting crime levels and patterns. This study uses Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, as a case study for seven crime types and total crimes and offences, using time series forecasting methods (SARIMA) and spatial statistical techniques (Local Moran's I). The temporal analysis compares predicted and actual crime from 23 March 2020 to 26 December 2021, including the during- and after-lockdown periods. The spatial analysis included two comparisons, before and after the start of lockdown for weeks 1-12 and 14-25 in 2020, and before, during and after the lockdown for weeks 29-53 in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The results show that the COVID-19 lockdown leads to a decrease in crime, with the most significant impact occurring within the first month of the lockdown, with a gradual increase and fluctuation in criminal cases as the lockdown lasts and people become more accustomed to the lockdown. However, changes in the geographical location of crime are not significant across the different phases of lockdown, with no change in the distribution of most crime clusters, with the city centre and its vicinity being the most crime-prone and the western part of Edinburgh (suburban, sparsely populated areas) experiencing less crime. This study provides a basis for crime prevention and control during social restraint and enriches related research.