Target search of burglars: A revised economic model


This article investigates home attributes that attract residential burglars in choosing a target. These attributes are the location of the home, its physical appearance, demographic characteristics of the residents, and the security precautions present. The theoretical foundation of the empirical model is the criminal utility maximization behavior that considers costs and benefits as formulated by Becker. However, this article introduces to the model the spatial dimension of the burglar's search for a target. The incidence of burglary is the dependent variable and is measured in a dichotomy scale. The empirical analysis utilizes a survey database of burgled and non-burgled homes that was conducted by the researchers. A logit model is used for the investigation, and the effects of the explanatory variables are calculated as probabilities. The database is unique in the wealth of attributes of individual homes that are relevant to burglars' decision process.

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Received: 18 June 1997 / Accepted: 25 January 2000

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Hakim, S., Rengert, G. & Shachmurove, Y. Target search of burglars: A revised economic model . Papers Reg Sci 80, 121–137 (2001).

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  • JEL classification: K42, R12, A14, C13, C25, C93
  • Key words: Residential burglary, utility maximization, rational choice, logit model