Economic trends and cycles in crime : a study for England and Wales
Faculty of Applied Economics
Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik. - Stuttgart
, p. 652-677
This paper models cyclical behaviour in property crime series (burglary and theft) in relation to the macroeconomic activity indicators in England andWales in the period from 1955 to 2001. Using unobserved components (UC) time series models, univariate time series analysis suggests that recorded burglary (theft) data is subject to stochastic cycle processes with typical business cycle frequencies of approximately 5 and 10 years. In the multivariate UC time series framework, recorded burglary (theft) is simultaneously modelled in a trivariate model, together with unemployment and real GDP time series. We also estimate a five-variate model, where we simultaneously model burglary, theft, unemployment, real GDP, and police variables. Some interesting findings in these analyses are: (i) observed cyclical behaviour in recorded property crime is almost fully determined by the economic business cycles; (ii) explanatory variables such as sentence length, imprisonment and conviction rates affect the short-term dynamics more than the long-term dynamics; (iii) motivational and opportunity effects between macroeconomic and crime time series can be distinguished in our modelling framework.