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Understanding the Criminogenic Properties of Vacant Housing: A Mixed Methods Approach

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 56 Issue: 3 Dated: 2019 Pages: 378-411
Lauren C. Porter; Alaina De Biasi; Susanne Mitchell; Andrew Curtis; Eric Jefferis
Date Published
34 pages
Although abandoned houses may attract or generate crime, little is known about the nature of this relationship, so the current study sought to provide a better understanding this link.

The study focused on a high-crime neighborhood in Ohio, using spatial video and calls for service (CFS) to determine how crime changed on streets where abandoned houses were removed. The study also solicited the insights of 35 ex-offenders, police officers, and residents regarding how and why abandoned houses are connected to crime in this locale. The study found that on average, streets where abandoned houses were razed had a lower proportion of neighborhood crime after removal. Also, a lower proportion of total CFS from these streets involved serious crime. The narrative data indicate that abandoned houses facilitate crime because they provide cover, unoccupied spaces, and are easy targets. The discussion suggests that the relevance of a particular abandoned house may depend on the larger context of the street or neighborhood. In order to understand these dynamics, future research should continue to examine micro-space as a facilitator of crime. (publisher abstract modified)