Original Paper

Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 363-378

First online:

How do Visitors Affect Crime?

  • Earl L. GrinolsAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University
  • , David B. MustardAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Terry College of Business, University of GeorgiaUGA Institute of Higher EducationInstitute for the Study of Labor Email author 
  • , Melissa StahaAffiliated withCatlin Inc.

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This paper, which uses data on National Park visitors between 1979 and 1998 and every county in the United States, is the most exhaustive examination to date of how visitors affect crime. After controlling for many other factors that influence crime, the county-level regressions consistently indicate that national park visitors have no effect on either property or violent crime. These results are true for a variety of different measures of park visitors, for different empirical specifications, and for different regression formats. We therefore conclude that some visitor types have no impact on crime. This conclusion sheds light on the empirical issue of whether only some types of recreational visitors increase crime or whether visitors, regardless of their type, necessarily increase crime.


Visitors Tourism Crime National park visitors Project cost-benefit