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Crime and Town Centers: Are Downtowns More Dangerous Than Suburban Shopping Nodes?


  • Richard Peiser

    () (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138)

  • Jiaqi Xiong

    () (Glenborough Realty Trust, San Mateo, CA 94043)


The perception of high crime rates in downtowns has hindered the revitalization of downtown shopping districts and adjacent residential areas. This paper presents a better methodology for measuring crime in commercial shopping districts, replacing the conventional method of quoting crimes per 100,000 residences with a measure that more accurately reflects one’s chance for being a crime victim. This new measurement is used to address the question of whether the downtown shopping districts of Los Angeles and San Diego are as dangerous as two of their most competitive suburban shopping areas—Santa Monica and Fashion Valley. The findings indicate that actual crime rates in both downtown Los Angeles and downtown San Diego are in fact lower that those of their suburban counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Peiser & Jiaqi Xiong, 2003. "Crime and Town Centers: Are Downtowns More Dangerous Than Suburban Shopping Nodes?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 25(4), pages 577-606.
  • Handle: RePEc:jre:issued:v:25:n:4:2003:p:577-606

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    Cited by:

    1. Enrico di Bella & Matteo Corsi & Lucia Leporatti, 2015. "A Multi-indicator Approach for Smart Security Policy Making," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 653-675, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services


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