We examine the effects of local inequality on property and violent
crime in South Africa. The findings are consistent with economic
theories relating local inequality to property crime and also with
sociological theories that imply that inequality leads to crime in
general. Burglary rates are 25-43% higher in police precincts that are
the wealthiest among their neighbors, suggesting that criminals travel
to neighborhoods where the expected returns from burglary are highest.
Finally, while we find little evidence that inequality between racial
groups fosters interpersonal conflict at the local level, racial
heterogeneity itself is highly correlated with crime.
JEL classification D63; D74; R12
Keywords: Crime: Inequality: South Africa