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Murder in the chaos of COVID-19: an analysis of changes in murder rates and patterns in Trinidad and Tobago

PUBLISHED March 09, 2023 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.54985/peeref.2303p8033187)



Troy Smith1 , Kevin Haines2
  1. Institute of Criminology and Public Safety
  2. University of South Wales

Conference / event

The University of Trinidad and Tobago 3rd Research Symposium (2021), August 2021 (Virtual)

Poster summary

The study aims to assess the changes in murder rates and patterns under COVID-19 conditions in Trinidad and Tobago. To treat with this gap in the literature the study utilized several interrupted time-series analyses to assess the change(s) in murder trends under COVID-19 conditions. Further, tests were performed to determine the correlation between restrictions in movement associated with COVID-19 and the murder rate. Additionally, the study sought to determine if nonlinear dynamics would be better suited to explain the changes in murder trends. Overall murders decreased while under COVID-19 conditions. However, the change was not consistent across different classifications of murders. The restriction of movement resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is not correlated with murder rate. Additionally, the time-series for murders in Trinidad and Tobago were found to have nonlinear components. The change in murder trends under COVID-19 is not based on a linear relationship with restrictions in movement.


Murder, Covid-19, Routine activities theory, Crime patterns, Bayesian time series analysis, Non-linear dynamics

Research areas

Humanities and Social Sciences, Statistics, Law


  1. Abt, A., Rosenfeld, R., & Lopez, E. (2020). COVID-19 and Homicide: Final Report to Arnold Ventures
  2. Clancy, A., Brookman, F., & Maguire, E. (2019). Gang-related homicide and police corruption in Trinidad and Tobago: A Rapid Evidence Assessment. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services
  3. Adams, E. B., Morris, P. K., & Maguire, E. R. (2018). The Impact of Gangs on Community Life in Trinidad. Race and Justice, 215336871882057.
  4. Hale, T., Webster, S., Petherick, A., Phillips, T., & Kira, B. (2020). Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. Blavatnik School of Government.
  5. Kim Larsen (2016). Sorry ARIMA, but I’m Going Bayesian. Stitch Fix MultiThreaded blog, https://multithreaded.stitchfix.com/blog/2016/04/21/forget-arima/.
  6. Krishnan, P. (2018). A review of the non-equivalent control group post-test-only design. Nurse Research, 26(2), 37–40
  7. Smith, T., & Haines, K. (2022). An exploratory study on murders in the chaos of COVID-19: An analysis of changes in murder rates and patterns in Trinidad and Tobago. International Criminology.


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Additional information

Competing interests
No competing interests were disclosed.
Data availability statement
The datasets generated during and / or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Creative Commons license
Copyright © 2023 Smith et al. This is an open access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Smith, T., Haines, K. Murder in the chaos of COVID-19: an analysis of changes in murder rates and patterns in Trinidad and Tobago [not peer reviewed]. Peeref 2023 (poster).
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