CHAPTER 7
Self-Protection Against Crime Victimization

No realistic, sane person goes around Chicago without protection.

—SAUL BELLOW


I. INTRODUCTION

In Part One we examined offender behaviors and some of the consequences of those behaviors over what amounts to a “life cycle,” or logical sequencing, of crime. In Part Two we take a comparable approach, examining what one could interpret as a life cycle of crime victimization. Over the remaining chapters of this book, we will use economic analysis to investigate the decision by victims to resist a criminal offender, report their victimizations to police (and the consequences of that reporting), and participate in the labor market subsequent to victimization. But our work actually starts with the realization that individual-level crime victimization is not inevitable. Every person understands that crime victimization could occur, and many of us engage in various forms of self-protection behavior as a means of preventing it, obviously to varying degrees of effectiveness. Just as potential criminals plan their crimes, potential victims plan for the possibility of crime happening to them. So, before we think about the economic choices that people make once they have truly become victims of crime, we should first examine the decision to self-protect. Who chooses to self-protect, what modes of self-protection do they choose, and why?

As noted in Chapter 6, economists have investigated self-protection fairly extensively, in large part because the behavior has immediate implications for overarching issues relating to the demand for insurance and the role and effectiveness of public police protection, the latter carryi ng important implications for social resource allocation. The earliest, seminal discussions of these issues by Ehrlich and Becker (1972), Bartel (1975), and Landes and Posner (1975) recognized that the private enforcement of

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Criminals and Victims
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Part One- Offender Behavior 1
  • Chapter 1- Who Are Criminals? a Review 3
  • Chapter 2- The Planning of Crime 28
  • Chapter 3- Violence and Damages 61
  • Chapter 4- The Destruction of Evidence 77
  • Chapter 5- The Recommission of Crime- Recidivism 110
  • Part Two- Victim Behavior 133
  • Chapter 6- Who Are Victims? a Review 135
  • Chapter 7- Self-Protection against Crime Victimization 155
  • Chapter 8- The Decision to Resist 182
  • Chapter 9- The Decision to Report 216
  • Chapter 10- Labor-Market Consequences of Crime Victimization 252
  • Epilogue 271
  • References 277
  • Index 287
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