Using micro-geographic units of analysis, this paper finds, first, that crime in Latin America is highly concentrated in a small proportion of blocks: 50 percent of crimes are concentrated in 3 to 7.5 percent of street segments, and 25 percent of crimes are concentrated in 0.5 to 2.9 percent of street segments. This validates Weisburd's "law of crime concentration at place" (Weisburd, 2015). These figures are fairly constant over time but sensitive to major police reforms. The second finding is that hot spots of crime are not always persistent. Crime is constantly prevalent in certain areas, but in other areas hot spots either appear or disappear, suggesting a possible rational adaptation from criminals to police actions that cause crime displacement in the medium run to other areas. Finally, the paper finds a significant pattern of repeated crime victimization in location and time for property crimes. There are striking similarities with the developed world in crime concentration, although crime levels are much higher and usually increasing. There are also some differences in terms of the persistence of hot spots that pose interesting policy implications and avenues for future research.
|United States of America
|Inter-American Development Bank
|Laura Jaitman & Nicolas Ajzenman