Are repeatedly extorted businesses different? A multilevel hurdle model of extortion victimization


Objectives. Research consistently shows that crime concentrates on a few repeatedly victimized places and targets. In this paper we examine whether the same is true for extortion against businesses. We then test whether the factors that explain the likelihood of becoming a victim of extortion also explain the number of incidents suffered by victimized businesses. The alternative is that extortion concentration is a function of event dependence.
Methods. Drawing on Mexico’s commercial victimization survey, we determine whether repeat victimization occurs by chance by comparing the observed distribution to that expected under a Poisson process. Next, we utilize a multilevel negative binomial-logit hurdle model to examine whether area- and business-level predictors of victimization are also associated with the number of repeat extortions suffered by businesses.
Results. Findings suggest that extortion is highly concentrated, and that the predictors of repeated extortion differ from those that predict the likelihood of becoming a victim of extortion. While area-level variables showed a modest association with the likelihood of extortion victimization, they were not significant predictors of repeat incidents. Similarly, most business-level variables significantly associated with victimization risk showed insignificant (and sometimes contrary) associations with victimization concentration. Overall, unexplained differences in extortion concentration at the business-level were unaffected by predictors of extortion prevalence.
Conclusions. The inconsistent associations of predictors across the hurdle components suggest that extortion prevalence and concentration are fueled by two distinct processes, an interpretation congruent with theoretical expectations regarding extortion that considers that repeats are likely fueled by a process of event dependence.

Journal of Quantitative Criminology