The Determinants of Criminal Victimization in São Paulo State, Brazil


  • Fábio Augusto Reis Gomes Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa
  • Lourenço Senne Paz University of Maryland



In this paper, the determinants of victimization by burglary/larceny are assessed theoretically by a model that takes into account the victim’s investment in self-protection and criminals with heterogeneous ability. Such features generate a non-increasing relationship between an individual’s income (which is attractive to the criminal) and her victimization likelihood. Thus, we obtain a novel result indicating that rich people might experience less victimization than middle-class individuals. The determinants are also investigated empirically using a victimization survey for São Paulo state – Brazil (Pesquisa de Condição de Vida – 1998 ), and unlike the previous literature, we found evidence that most of the city size effect on victimization likelihood is explained by the city’s population characteristics (income, education, etc.). Moreover, crime and city size do not have an increasing relationship, and the same applies to victimization likelihood and victim’s income. These results are in line with our theoretical model predictions. Finally, we found evidence that people do not consider their victimization likelihood when choosing a city to live in.