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Causes of crime

We know that community wellbeing can be affected by local crime rates (Dustmann and that crime tends to be concentrated in those areas of economic and social disadvantage.

To inform policies contributing to community safety, effective policing and wellbeing, we need to analyse the contribution and links between the several factors causing crime. Our research considers the many factors which "push" and "pull" individuals into crime. It does this through matching newly-available detailed police real-time crime incidence data with local economic and social indicator data, and individual education and employment data.

Push factors responsible for trends in local property crime include the role of economic shocks such as changes in benefit, restrictions on the availability of finance (payday loans), unemployment or unstable jobs, and poor labour market conditions. The link between non-economic shocks such as terrorist attacks, immigration peaks and rises in hate crime are also explored. But there are also more generic factors at work to explain why individuals initially engage in criminal careers, including appraisal of potential returns from criminal as opposed to mainstream employment opportunities. Staying on longer in school has a mitigating effect here, while recessions increase the likelihood of young people entering long-term criminal careers. The perception that joining neighbourhood gangs could reduce risk of being caught and increase tangible gains as well as providing a sense of belonging and status, can also increase rates of criminal career entry. Rational calculations of economic returns to crime also help explain trends in crime, the types of property stolen varying with shifts in commodity market prices. Market considerations also feature in drugs crimes moving from the streets to auctions on the Dark Web where trading risks are minimised, and customer satisfaction guaranteed.

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