‘Paranoid about the pandemic’: How COVID-19 brought the ‘largest criminology experiment in history’

Adrian Humphreys:

Emergency isolation orders, border closures, social distancing and mandated lockdowns are inconvenient and costly, but, it is hoped, it will at least test theories like never before of why crime really happens and how it can be predicted and reduced.

The COVID-19 pandemic is “the largest criminological experiment in history,” according to influential American criminologist Marcus Felson. “It’s like a natural lab,” Felson says in an interview — and we are all test subjects locked in this dystopian exploration.

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“The ‘stay-at-home’ mandates brought about the most wide-reaching, significant, and sudden alteration of the lives of billions of people in human history,” Felson, a professor at Texas State University, wrote in a recent paper rallying criminologists around the world to aggressively seize opportunity from tragedy.

The pandemic certainly has some collateral damage to folks’ levels of stress and strain

“Practically overnight, the entire country ceased or significantly reduced day-to-day travels, eliminating commutes from home to work, as well as leisure activities, shopping trips, social gatherings, the ability to dine out, and more.