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Does Violent Crime Deter Physical Activity?

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  • Katharina Janke
  • Carol Propper
  • Michael Shields

    ()

Abstract

Crime has been argued to have important externalities. We investigate the relationship between violent crime and an important type of behaviour: individuals’ participation in their local area through walking and physical activity. We use a sample of nearly 1 million people residing in over 320 small areas in England between 2005 and 2011. We show that concerns about personal safety co-move with police recorded violent crime. To identify the causal effect of recorded violent crime on walking and other physical activity we control for individual-level characteristics, non-time varying local authority effects, national time effects and local authority-specific trends. In addition, we exploit a natural experiment that caused a sudden increase in crime – the 2011 England riots – to identify the causal impact of a large exogenous crime shock on physical activity in a triple difference framework. Our results show a substantive deterrent effect of local area violent crime on walking, pointing to important effects of violent crime on non-victims. The adverse effect of an increase in local area violent crime from the 25th to the 75th percentile on walking is equivalent in size to a 6 ° C fall in average minimum temperature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 13/312.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:13/312

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Keywords: Violent Crime; Walking; Physical Activity; Riots;

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  1. Jacob, Brian A. & Lefgren, Lars & Moretti, Enrico, 2005. "The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks," Working Paper Series rwp05-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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  12. Robert Metcalfe & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Paul Dolan, 2011. "Destruction and Distress: Using a Quasi‐Experiment to Show the Effects of the September 11 Attacks on Mental Well‐Being in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages F81-F103, February.
  13. Sundquist, Kristina & Theobald, Holger & Yang, Min & Li, Xinjun & Johansson, Sven-Erik & Sundquist, Jan, 2006. "Neighborhood violent crime and unemployment increase the risk of coronary heart disease: A multilevel study in an urban setting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2061-2071, April.
  14. Braakmann, Nils, 2012. "How do individuals deal with victimization and victimization risk? Longitudinal evidence from Mexico," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 335-344.
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