The effect of the Meals-to-You program on crime in Texas during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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COVID-19 not only impacted the health of people around the world; it also impacted the global economy, crime, food insecurity, and countless other areas. Governments took action to help their people. The emergency-Meals-to-You (eMTY) program delivered meals to students of low income families during the lockdown. In this thesis, I evaluate the effect of eMTY on crime in Texas. I analyze domestic violence, theft, and drug-related crimes in Austin and Dallas at the zip-week level. I first use OLS, Two Way Fixed Effects (TWFE), and Poisson regressions to determine that eMTY decreased crime in Texas during the lockdown. I then use networks analysis with TWFE regressions to look at how the interconnectedness of zip codes within the city influenced the effect of eMTY on crime. I find that the negative effect that eMTY had on crime was lessened for zip codes that are more interconnected in the city.



COVID-19. Crime. Emergency-Meal-to-You (eMTY). Students. Low income families.