The Park Place Economist


The relationship between aggregate unemployment rates and the incidence of crime has been frequently analyzed (Cantor and Land, 1985; Bennett, 1991; Bushway, 2011). However, the result of this analysis has been inconsistent. This discrepancy could be related to the inconsistent application of both economic and sociological theory, as well as several methodological issues with previous research and literature (Bennett, 1991). Becker’s 1968 paper describes crime as an individual decision made based on potential loss and gain. However, many prior analyses examine aggregate data, masking changes in individuals’ situations behind aggregate numbers.

The importance of predicting crime for law enforcement and public policy can have a large significance and magnitude on informed decisions. This can both reduce the cost of law enforcement and increase the efficiency of anti-crime measures.