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Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Economic Policy Review
The changing relationship between income and crime victimization
Steven D. Levitt
Abstract

This paper was presented at the conference "Unequal incomes, unequal outcomes? Economic inequality and measures of well-being" as part of session 3, " Education and crime in urban neighborhoods." The conference was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on May 7, 1999. The author examines the changes in the relationship between income and crime victimization over time. He argues that the poor suffer disproportionately more from property crime today than they did twenty years ago, possibly because of the increased reliance on theft-prevention devices by higher income groups. The author also indicates that, in stark contrast to property come, homicide appears to have become more dispersed across income groups, at least based on neighborhood-level data for Chicago. For whites, neighborhood median family income is no longer a predictor of homicide victimization rates - a factor that may explain the increase in the fear of crime across income levels when the crime rate has actually fallen sharply. For blacks, the link between income and crime victimization is found to be only one-third as strong as it was in 1970.


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Steven D. Levitt, "The changing relationship between income and crime victimization" , Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Policy Review, issue Sep, pages 87-98, 1999.
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Keywords: Income ; Crime
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