Do foreclosures cause crime?

Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe, Claudia Ayanna Sharygin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The mortgage foreclosure crisis has generated increasing concerns about the effects of foreclosed properties on their surrounding neighborhoods, and on criminal activity in particular. There are a number of potential ways in which a foreclosed property might increase the payoffs to committing crime and decrease the likelihood of being caught, including reduced maintenance, residential turnover, and vacancy. Using point-specific, longitudinal crime, foreclosure, and other property data from New York City, this paper determines whether foreclosed properties affect criminal activity on the surrounding blockface - an individual street segment including properties on both sides of the street. We find that additional foreclosures on a blockface lead to additional total crimes, violent crimes and public order crimes. These effects appear to be largest when foreclosure activity is measured by the number of foreclosed properties that are on their way to an auction or have reverted to bank ownership. We find that effects are largest in neighborhoods with moderate or high levels of crime, and on blockfaces with concentrated foreclosure activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Volume74
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

Keywords

  • Crime
  • Mortgage foreclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies

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