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Impact of Foreclosures on Neighborhood Crime in Nevada, 2006-09

NCJ Number
Tamara D. Madensen Ph.D.; Timothy C. Hart Ph.D.; Terance D. Miethe Ph.D.
Date Published
December 2011
16 pages
This study examined trends in housing foreclosures in Nevada in 2006-09 in relation to neighborhood crime.
Between 2006 and 2009, Las Vegas recorded the most foreclosures (70 percent), followed by North Las Vegas (18 percent), and Henderson (12 percent). Focusing on Clark County, where 73,548 foreclosure filings were made between 2006 and 2009, multivariate regression analyses did not provide evidence that housing foreclosures increased crime in this county. The findings of this study support Taylor's (2009) hypothesis that foreclosures will impact neighborhood crime differently in suburban settings than in inner-city urban neighborhoods. Taylor argues that unoccupied houses in suburban neighborhoods may be stronger indicators of market dysfunctionality than other social and physical problems. Under this hypothesis, there may not be contemporaneous or even long-term negative effects of foreclosures on crime. Three primary data limitations are indicated. First, the analysis relied on crimes known to police. Second, the subdivision boundaries used to define neighborhoods do not conform to census boundaries. This prevents estimations of accurate neighborhood demographic characteristics. Third, North Las Vegas crime data could not be used due to changes in recording practices. This reduced the anticipated sample size by 12.6 percent. 11 tables and 17 references