Will Jennings, Stephen Farrall, Shaun Bevan
The Economy, Crime and Time: an analysis of recorded property crime in England & Wales 1961-2006
We seek to determine whether one of the unanticipated side-effects of social and economic changes associated with the adoption of neoliberal and monetarist economics during the 1970s/1980s was rising crime rates. Undertaking time series analysis of social and economic determinants of property crime (using official statistics on recorded crime for England and Wales from 1961-2006) we develop a model of the effect of changes in socio-economic variables (unemployment, inequality, welfare spending and incarceration) on property crime rates. We find that while three of these had significant effects on change in the property crime rate, income inequality did not. We conclude with a discussion of the extent to which neoliberal economic and welfare (and later criminal justice) policies can be held to have influenced the property crime rate since the early 1980s and what this tells us about the social and economic determinants of crime at the macro-level.