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Rail Transit and Neighborhood Crime: The Case of Atlanta, Georgia

Listed author(s):
  • Keith R. Ihlanfeldt


    (DeVoe Moore Center and Department of Economics)

The construction of commuter rail stations is the centerpiece of many metropolitan areas' overall strategies for dealing with worsening air pollution, automobile congestion, and urban sprawl. Neighborhood groups have frequently opposed new stations on the grounds that stations increase crime. If fears of station-induced neighborhood crime are justified, building new stations may make the problems they are supposed to address even worse, because crime is a cause of employment and population decentralization. This paper first demonstrates theoretically that transit's impact on neighborhood crime can be either positive or negative. Some rare evidence is then provided on the link between transit and crime. Using a unique panel of neighborhood crime data for Atlanta, the results from estimating fixed effects and random effects models show that transit's impact on crime depends on certain characteristics of the neighborhood. The mix of these characteristics found within central city neighborhoods has resulted in transit increasing crime there, whereas in the suburbs crime has been reduced by transit.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 273-294

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:70:2:y:2003:p:273-294
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