Commuting for Crime

Tom Kirchmaier, Monica Langella, Alan Manning*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

10 Downloads (Pure)


People care about crime, with the spatial distribution of both actual and perceived crime affecting the amenities from living in different areas and residential decisions. The literature finds that crime tends to happen close to the offender's residence but does not clearly establish whether this is because the location of likely offenders and crime opportunities are close to each other, whether more local crimes are likely to be solved or whether there is a high commuting cost for criminals. We use a rich administrative dataset from one of the biggest UK police forces to disentangle these hypotheses proposing a procedure for controlling for the selection bias induced by the fact that offenders’ location is only known when they are caught. We find that the cost of distance is very high, especially for crimes without any financial gain. For property crimes, we find a similar cost of distance to commuting for legal work. We also investigate how local socio-economic characteristics affect both the number of criminals and crimes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number659
Pages (from-to)1173-1198
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 27 October 2023.

Cite this