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articles: Target search of burglars: A revised economic model


  • Yochanan Shachmurove

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA)

  • George F. Rengert

    () (Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19127, USA)

  • Simon Hakim

    () (Department of Economics, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Yochanan Shachmurove & George F. Rengert & Simon Hakim, 2001. "articles: Target search of burglars: A revised economic model," Papers in Regional Science, Springer;Regional Science Association International, vol. 80(2), pages 121-137.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:presci:v:80:y:2001:i:2:p:121-137 Note: Received: 18 June 1997

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Foreman-Peck, James & Moore, Simon C., 2010. "Gratuitous violence and the rational offender model," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 160-172, June.
    2. Buck, Andrew J. & Hakim, Simon & Swanson, Charles & Rattner, Arye, 2003. "Vandalism of vending machines: Factors that attract professionals and amateurs," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 85-95.

    More about this item


    Residential burglary; utility maximization; rational choice; logit model;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments


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