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Stress on the Sidewalk: Mental health costs of close proximity crime

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  • Panka Bencsik

Abstract

I apply novel, extremely micro-level datasets to provide new evidence on crime's impact on mental health. I find that each reported violent and sexual crime significantly increases the stress levels of those in the vicinity for three days after the crime was committed. The temporal aspect of the effect is specifically driven by violent and sexual crimes committed two days earlier, a lag which suggests the presence of a mediator of the information--word of mouth or the media. To measure that, I scrape news data and observe significant increases in nationwide stress levels in response to the number of articles published on the topic of crime in the domestic news section of multiple daily newspapers. I measure crime's effect on stress by merging a unique daily response panel dataset that has over 75,000 responses from 2010 to 2017 in the Thames Valley region of England with secure access data containing every reported crime in the same region with exact location, time, and event characteristics. The result that violent and sexual crimes increase stress holds with extensive controls for individual fixed effects, circumstantial characteristics, and spatial fixed effects, including fixed effects for the smallest level of census geography in England that contain only an average of 250 people.

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  • Panka Bencsik, 2018. "Stress on the Sidewalk: Mental health costs of close proximity crime," 2018 Papers pbe976, Job Market Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:jmp:jm2018:pbe976
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Christoph Kronenberg, 2021. "A New Measure of 19th Century US Suicides," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 803-815, September.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

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