Do Burglars Calculate ROI? A Logistic Regression Analysis
Dr. Yochanan Shachmurove, Dr. Gideon Fishman, and Dr. Simon Hakim
Do burglars choose their targets based on rational considerations? The location of the home? Its surroundings? The security precautions that may or may not be in place? If so, it would make it much easier for police and security companies to design strategies aimed at reducing residents' chances of being burglarized. Residents themselves would also be better equipped to employ the most effective security precautions and modify their actions to minimize the risks.
To find out, my colleagues Gideon Fishman and Simon Hakim, and I carried out a logistic regression analysis, taking into account the location, surroundings, and attributes of a home, as well as the presence or non-presence of a variety of security measures.
Gary Becker, the 1992 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, published his seminal work on the rational behavior of the criminals in 1968, a work in which he claimed that a criminal evaluates costs and benefits in choosing his life style and also in deciding whether or not to carry out a particular crime. A decade or so later, my colleague Simon Hakim elaborated on Becker's model by introducing a spatial dimension that states that a burglar's choice of a particular home depends on the expected net return of each potentially available home.