Seminar 27 October 2014
The local determinants of crime victimisation
This paper explores the determinants of crime victimization at the neighborhood level, using data from the French victimization survey. Its contribution to the economics of crime literature is threefold. First, I provide evidence of the fact that neighborhood characteristics explain victimization better than individual characteristics. Second, I find that local unemployment rate is one of the most important factor explaining victimization, with a particularly large effect on small crimes such as motorbike theft or vandalism. Given that the study is carried out at a very low geographic level, the endogenous location selection issue can be discarded, as in Bayer, Ross and Topa (2008), so that these relationships can be interpreted as unbiased causal effects. Third, I take advantage of the precise localization of the data to adopt a geographical approach, comparing the effect of unemployment rate in the reference neighborhood and in adjacent neighborhoods. The results support the idea that criminals are mobile across neighborhoods for more serious economic crimes, in line with the Beckerian theory of crime, but that petty crimes and vandalism do not involve any mobility, relating to the social disorganisation theory.
Contact: Battista Severgnini and Cédric Schneider