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Property Crime in Canada

Property Crime in Canada: An econometric study

Kenneth L. Avio
C. Scott Clark
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1976
Pages: 86
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  • Book Info
    Property Crime in Canada
    Book Description:

    This is the first attempt, using Canadian data and econometric techniques, to study property crime as rational economic behaviour. Supply-of-offences functions for five types of property crime are specified and estimated using provincial data for 1970-2.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5641-3
    Subjects: Law, Economics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-5)

    This study summarizes early results of an attempt to apply an economic model of crime to explain recorded property crime rates in Canada. The model is adapted from the economic model of criminal behaviour originally proposed by Becker (1968) and later estimated in various forms, notably by Ehrlich (1973), Sjoquist (1973), and Swimmer (1974) for the United States and by Carr-Hill and Stern (1973) for England and Wales. The model includes a supply-of-offences function and a police production function for each property crime, as well as a function explaining total government expenditures on police and protection. Empirical results are presented...

  5. 1 The extent of property crime in Canada
    (pp. 6-12)

    Table 1 lists recorded crimes (criminal code violations only) and crime rates for Canada and the provinces for the years 1966 and 1971. These figures give substance to the growing unease of Canadians regarding the safety of their persons and property. For Canada as a whole the total number of violations almost doubled over the five-year period. Moreover, the change in the total crime rate indicates that the increase in the number of offences was not due primarily to the increase in population.

    Crime in Canada during the period was not evenly dispersed among the provinces. In 1966 British Columbia...

  6. 2 The economic model of crime
    (pp. 13-20)

    This chapter contains a non-technical discussion of the basic economic model of criminal behaviour. Variations and more detailed expositions are found elsewhere (Fleisher, 1966; Becker, 1968; Tullock, 1969; Ehrlich, 1973; Sjoquist, 1973).

    All economic models of individual decision-making are based on the elementary theory of choice. It is assumed that people make allocative decisions according to certain axioms; anyone who conforms to these axioms is said to be ‘rational’ (Henderson and Quandt, 1971, chap. 2). These axioms imply the existence of an (expected) utility function which is simply a mathematical representation of an individual’s preferences. If the axioms do not...

  7. 3 Data
    (pp. 21-28)

    The aggregate supply-of-offences function (8) is estimated using provincial data for eight provinces for the three years 1970 to 1972. Quebec and Alberta are excluded from the sample since the required judicial data are not available. The Yukon and Northwest Territories are excluded since data on some of the socioeconomic variables used in the model are not available for these areas.

    As discussed in the previous chapter, the expected costs of illegal activities are indicated partly by the probability of apprehension, the probability of conviction, and the average sentence length to be served. The first of these variables is obtained...

  8. 4 Empirical results
    (pp. 29-43)

    This chapter summarizes the two-stage least squares estimates of the aggregate supply-of-offences equation for the four property crime categories, robbery, theftA, theftB, break and enter, and fraud.19The following assumptions are imposed in estimating the offence equations.

    1 The cross elasticities with respect toP,Q, andSin the case of the offence equation, andPandQin the case of the police production functions and the expenditure function are constrained to be zero. This assumption is necessary because of the small sample size.

    2 The first stage regression included the following exogenous and predetermined variables:...

  9. 5 Range of elasticities for ‘true’ offence rates: an illustration
    (pp. 44-49)

    In the second chapter it was observed that if the recorded offence rate differs from the actual offence rate, then the estimated elasticities may not accurately reflect the response ofactualcrime rates to changes in explanatory variables. The extent of the identification problem depends upon the recording function; the elasticity for any variable included in the supply-of-offences function but excluded from the recording function can be identified directly. To identify the ‘actual’ offence elasticities of variables included in the recording function, knowledge of the recording function is required.

    For illustrative purposes this chapter presents a range of estimates of...

  10. 6 Conclusion and recommendations for future research
    (pp. 50-52)

    To summarize briefly: the economic model of property crime assumes that prospective offenders rationally weigh the expected costs and benefits of their actions in deciding whether to engage in property crime. In this study the empirical counterparts of those costs and benefits for Canadian offenders were specified in an attempt to subject the model to an empirical test. In general, the regression results presented in chapter 4 and in appendices C and D are consistent with the model.

    The single pervasive result that isnotconsistent with the predictions of the model is that whereas an increased risk of capture...

  11. APPENDIX A Derivation of expected sentence lengths
    (pp. 53-58)
  12. APPENDIX B Police and judicial crime classifications
    (pp. 59-61)
  13. APPENDIX C Two-stage least squares regression estimates of the supply-of-offences equations
    (pp. 62-71)
  14. APPENDIX D Ordinary least squares estimates of the supply-of-offences equations
    (pp. 72-80)
  15. APPENDIX E Data sources
    (pp. 81-84)
  16. References
    (pp. 85-86)