Foreclosure, Vacancy and Crime
This paper examines the impact of residential foreclosures and vacancies on violent and property crime. To overcome confounding factors, a difference-in-difference research design is applied to a unique data set containing geocoded foreclosure and crime data from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Results indicate that while foreclosure alone has no effect on crime, violent crime rates increase by roughly 19% once the foreclosed home becomes vacant -an effect that increases with length of vacancy. We find weak evidence suggesting a potential vacancy effect for property crime that is much lower in magnitude.
We thank Sabina Deitrick and Bob Gradeck at Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System, who provided the housing, foreclosure and crime data and many useful comments. We also thank Dennis Epple, Mark Hoekstra, Werner Troesken and seminar participants at the University of Pittsburgh. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily represent those of Freddie Mac, its board of directors, or the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Cui, Lin & Walsh, Randall, 2015. "Foreclosure, vacancy and crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 72-84. citation courtesy of