Skip to content

Crime in California during the COVID-19 Pandemic

POLICY BRIEF: Crime in California during the COVID-19 Pandemic PDF

TESTIMONY: California Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code PDF

PRESS RELEASE:  Report Tracks Crime Trends in California and the U.S. during the COVID Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic struck the US in early 2020 and led to social dislocations, financial and health stresses, and alterations in our daily routines, crime rates in California and across the country also changed, sometimes in unpredictable ways. In this brief, we use Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), California Department of Justice (DOJ) data, and US Census data to assess the degree to which crime in 2020 changed relative to crime in 2019 in California. We also compare crime trends in California to trends in other states. This policy brief expands on testimony provided to the California Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code, and includes 437 municipalities, whereas the testimony only included municipalities with over 100,000 people.

CPL conducted this study through a research partnership with the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code, a state agency that studies and makes recommendations to improve California’s criminal legal system.

Select Media Coverage

NPR: The Pandemic Puts Criminal Courts Behind Schedule As Violent Crime Spikes (September 21, 2021)
FOX 40: Reports: California homicide rate rises by 31% amid pandemic, vehicle thefts rise 20% (September 20, 2021)
Orange County Register: Remote work, distance learning: What stays in Orange County’s pandemic recovery? (September 16, 2021)
Davis Vanguard: Report Analyzed Crime Trends in California during the Pandemic (September 16, 2021)


Suggested Citation

Bird, M., Gill, O., Lacoe, J., Pickard, M., Raphael, S. (2021). Crime in California during the COVID-19 Pandemic. California Policy Lab.

Stay Informed