14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

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The local determinants of crime vicitmization
Camille HEMET

Last modified: 2015-03-01


This paper explores the determinants of crime victimization at the neighborhood level,
using data from the French victimization survey. The very local nature of the data enables
me to tackle the endogenous location selection issue: once I control for the characteristics
of a larger area into which household select their location, the remaining variation of
observables across neighborhoods within this larger area can be considered as exogenous.
The contribution of this paper to the economics of crime literature is then twofold. First,
I show that neighborhood characteristics are important determinants of crime victimization.
In particular, local unemployment rate is found to be one of the most important
factor explaining victimization. Second, I take advantage of the precise localization of
the data to adopt a spatial 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 disorganization theory.


crime victimization; local effects; spatial approach