Cheque Cashing Places: Preying on Areas with High Crime


With the closure of mainstream bank branches in low-income neighbourhoods, cheque cashing places (CCPs) grew exponentially in the past decade. CCP users tend to be those in need of quick cash or who frequently live from pay cheque to pay cheque. CCPs appear to target low-income vulnerable consumersthe so-called “unbanked”. Such individuals are more likely to reside in high-crime areas. We hypothesized that CCPs are more prevalent in neighbourhoods with high crime rates, and that this might be a function of strategic marketing by CCPs, rather than merely an indicator of economic disparity. We explored the relation between the density of CCPs in each census tract in Toronto and its association with both any crime and also violent crime. The findings indicate that CCPs are more abundant in areas of high crime, and especially, violent crime, and this appears to be independent of measures of material deprivation and residential instability. While the CCP industry has strategically focused on customers of low socioeconomic status, it is plausible that they also focus on high-crime areas as well.

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Ray, J. , Boshari, T. , Gozdyra, P. , Creatore, M. & Matheson, F. (2013). Cheque Cashing Places: Preying on Areas with High Crime. Sociology Mind, 3, 278-283. doi: 10.4236/sm.2013.34037.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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