The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that, for the case of Italy, ceteris paribus, tourist areas tend to have a greater amount of crime than non-tourist ones in the short and long run. Following the literature of the economics of crime à la Becker (Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach, 1968) and Enrlich (Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation, 1973) and using a System GMM approach for the time span 1985–2003, the authors empirically test whether total crime in Italy is affected by the presence of tourists. Findings confirm the initial intuition of a positive relationship between tourism and crime in destinations. When using the level rather than the rate of total crime and controlling for the equivalent tourists (i.e. the number of tourists per day in a given destination) the effect of the tourist variable is confirmed. Overall results indicate however that the resident population has a greater effect on crime than the tourist population. Therefore, the main explanation for the impact of tourism on crime seems to be agglomeration effects.
The data set for this article can be found at: http://hdl.handle.net/1902.1/18526