Do Foreclosures Cause Crime?

Report by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe, and Claudia Ayanna Sharygin
June 2011

Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy   (New York)

With support from the National Institute of Justice, we are examining how elevated rates of foreclosures affect crime in the immediately surrounding area.  Our research uses neighborhood-level data on crime, foreclosures, and lending activity from six major U.S. cities (Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia) to estimate the relationship between increases in foreclosures and increases in crime.  By showing whether foreclosures (and not just the underlying economic and social problems precipitating foreclosures) lead to an increase in crime, our studies will improve on previous research to provide empirical evidence to help local law enforcement, housing officials, and community organizations respond to foreclosures, develop collaborative responses, and better target resources.