Crime is a major impediment to economic growth and development in Nigeria despite measures taken to reduce it. There is, however, currently no major statistical analysis of how crime affects economic growth in that country. This study examines the link between crime and growth based on the theory of rational choice and empirical data. Exogenous and endogenous growth models are employed, and include deterrence variables. The period examined is 1970–2013 and estimation is done using the autoregressive distributed lag model. The results of our study show that crime affects economic growth at a 1% and 10% level of significance. In other words, crime imposes the costs of prosecution and punishment on the citizens and country, which influences the growth of the economy. Given our results, we suggest that police and the system of justice should be strengthened. Indeed, this may be necessary if the development target stated in Nigeria vision 20: 2020 is to be reached.