The dynamics of crime risk perceptions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We study how residents form beliefs about the prevalence of crime in their neighborhood. We document the process of learning about local crime for a uniquely long period of 10 years after taking up residence. Our analysis is based on four successive waves of a large crime survey in the Netherlands matched with administrative register data for the complete history of places of residence between 1995 and 2011. We find that beliefs of residents are much more favorable shortly after their move into the neighborhood than they are longer after their move. The adjustments in beliefs only level off after many years. A large part of this adjustment in the years after a move can be explained by the accumulation of direct experiences with crime. Our findings show that victimization of crime is more than the outcome of a calculated risk; it is a costly form of learning about crime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-561
JournalAmerican Law and Economics Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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