COVID-19 has led many governments to impose lockdowns in efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. One of the many consequences of the lockdown is a reduction in crime. We apply a difference-in-differences approach to the 2018–2020 Crime Statistics to investigate the effect of the 2020 lockdown on crime victimization in Japan. We find that the 2020 lockdown leads to 12.7% and 20.9% declines in violent and property crime victimization rates per 100,000 people, respectively. Moreover, we observe that premeditated crimes, such as breaking-and-entering and sexual assault, decline more than non-premeditated crimes, such as homicide. We also explore the heterogeneous effects of the lockdown by age groups. We observe that there is a significant decline in sexual assault victimization for those between the ages of 0 and 29, and there are significant declines in overall violent and property crime victimizations and their subtypes for those between ages of 30 and 59. Finally, we show that there is an improvement in suicide rates, which suggests that better mental health is the mechanism partially mediating the relationship between lockdown and crime victimization.
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