The Costs of Urban Property Crime* 


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    The author would like to thank Edward Coulson and other participants at the Lincoln Institute Seminar on the Analysis of Urban Land Markets and the Impact of Market Regulation, July 2002, and Kirstine Hansen and Stephen Machin for useful comments and suggestions. Thanks also to Paul Cheshire and Stephen Sheppard for providing the property data, and to the Metropolitan Police Force for the crime data.


This paper estimates the impact of recorded domestic property crime on property prices in the London area. Crimes in the Criminal Damage category have a significant negative impact on prices. A one-tenth standard deviation decrease in the local density of criminal damage adds 1% to the price of an average Inner London property. Burglaries have no measurable impact on prices, even after allowing for the potential dependence of burglary rates on unobserved property characteristics. One explanation we offer here is that vandalism, graffiti and other forms of criminal damage motivate fear of crime in the community and may be taken as signals or symptoms of community instability and neighbourhood deterioration in general.