More Guns, Less Burglaries

In December 2008, a Memphis, TN newspaper published a searchable online database of names, zip codes, and ages of Tennessee handgun carry permit holders. We use detailed crime and handgun carry permit data for the city of Memphis to estimate the impact of publicity about the database on burglaries. We find that burglaries increased in zip codes with fewer gun permits, and decreased in those with more gun permits, after the database was publicized.

From a new NBER working paper by Alessandro Acquisti & Catherine Tucker. I’ve also been struck by the fact that compared to other industrialized countries the US has low robbery rates and especially so relative to burglaries.


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