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Fewer vacants, fewer crimes? Impacts of neighborhood revitalization policies on crime

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  • Spader, Jonathan
  • Schuetz, Jenny
  • Cortes, Alvaro

Abstract

The relationship between neighborhood physical environment and social disorder, particularly crime, is of critical interest to urban economists and sociologists, as well as local governments. Over the past 50years, various policy interventions to improve physical conditions in distressed neighborhoods have also been heralded for their potential to reduce crime. Urban renewal programs in the mid-20th century and public housing redevelopment in the 1990s both subscribed to the idea that signs of physical disorder invite social disorder. More recently, the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provided funding for local policymakers to rehabilitate or demolish foreclosed and vacant properties, in order to mitigate negative spillovers—including crime—on surrounding neighborhoods. In this paper, we investigate the impact of NSP investments on localized crime patterns in Cleveland, Chicago and Denver. Results suggest that demolition activity in Cleveland decreased burglary and theft, but do not find measurable impacts of property rehabilitation investments—although the precision of these estimates are limited by the number of rehabilitation activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Spader, Jonathan & Schuetz, Jenny & Cortes, Alvaro, 2016. "Fewer vacants, fewer crimes? Impacts of neighborhood revitalization policies on crime," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 73-84.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:60:y:2016:i:c:p:73-84
    DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2016.07.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bak, Xian F. & Hewings, Geoffrey J.D., 2017. "Measuring foreclosure impact mitigation: Evidence from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in Chicago," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 38-56.
    2. Schuetz, Jenny & Spader, Jonathan & Cortes, Alvaro, 2016. "Have distressed neighborhoods recovered? Evidence from the neighborhood stabilization program," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 30-48.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Foreclosures; Demolition; Neighborhood revitalization;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General

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