Yuriy Andrienko

Understanding Crime Growth in Russia during Transition: A Criminometric Approach

2001. Vol. 5. No. 2. P. 194–220 [issue contents]

The main purpose of the work is to draw public attention to the causes of the increase in crime and to offer alternative ways to combat it. The dynamic model of crime proposal estimated by econometric methods is considered. The impact of various factors (law enforcement, socio-economic, demographic and other indicators) on the crime rate in Russia during the transition period is assessed. The study studied violent and mercenary crime, represented by the levels of murder and theft per 100 thousand population, respectively (criminologists have a so-called index or crime rate). Using data from 1990 to 1998 for 70 Russian regions, the author comes to the following conclusions. First of all, the effect of deterrence of crime by the activities of law enforcement agencies, but this effect is severely limited. Another limiting factor is the high level of education: an additional year of education of the population leads to a drop in the crime rate by 10%. The increased consumption of alcohol and drugs was one of the reasons for the increase in violent crimes. Contrary to belief in the West, the majority of murders in Russia are not connected with criminal groups, and is result of the flash of aggression caused by alcoholic intoxication within a family and the immediate environment. Family instability has also had a significant impact on the growth of crime. On the contrary, the fall in the birth rate will have a positive impact on the level of crimes against the person in 10-15 years. Other socio-economic indicators have the opposite effect on violent and self-serving crime. With declining income inequality, rising real incomes and unemployment, violent crime is being replaced by self-serving crimes. Consequently, we can expect a further increase in crimes against property during the steady economic growth in Russia. However, the overall crime rate in Russia is still several times lower than in other European countries, even if we take into account the higher share of latent crime in Russia.

Citation: Andrienko Y. (2001) V poiskakh ob"yasneniya rosta prestupnosti v Rossii v perekhodnyy period: kriminometricheskiy podkhod [Understanding Crime Growth in Russia during Transition: A Criminometric Approach]. HSE Economic Journal , vol. 5, no 2, pp. 194-220 (in Russian)
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