Fear of crime and housing prices: Household reactions to sex offender registries
Megan's Law requires public dissemination of information from sex offender registries. Opponents to this controversial law have questioned whether households misinterpret or even use this information. One concern was that the information might simply induce a "fear of crime." This study finds evidence for both use and misinterpretation of the publicly available information on sex offenders. Using a unique dataset that tracks sex offenders in Hillsborough County, Florida, the results indicate that after a sex offender moves into a neighborhood, nearby housing prices fall by 2.3% ($3500 on average). However, once a sex offender moves out of a neighborhood, housing prices appear to immediately rebound. Surprisingly, these price impacts do not appear to differ in areas near high risk offenders labeled as "predators."
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