joint with Alexander Schmidt-Catran, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
This study analyses the impact of a high-profile crime event on perceived public safety. At the 2015 New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne (NYE), Germany, refugees allegedly committed thousands of crimes, ranging from theft to sexual assault. The widespread media coverage of these incidents has made a shift in the publics’ perceived safety plausible. We empirically analyze this proposition using a difference-in-differences strategy. Using the European Social Survey, we estimate the differential response of German respondents to those of other European countries in terms of perceived safety after NYE. We find that Germans feel less safe after the NYE incidents. Women and individuals leaning toward the political right are affected the most. The analysis of search queries suggests that the loss of perceived safety may also translate into higher demand for defense goods.