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Mortgage Foreclosures and the Changing Mix of Crime in Micro-neighborhoods

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2015
30 pages
The main objectives of this study were to estimate the impact of mortgage foreclosures on the location of criminal activity within a blockface and to explore potential mechanisms that link foreclosures to crime, drawing on routine activity theory, disorder theory, and social disorganization theory.
Overall, mortgage foreclosures increase crime on blockfaces. Foreclosures have a larger impact on crime that occurs inside residences than on crime in the street. The impact of foreclosures on crime location varies by crime type (violent, property, and public order crime). The evidence supports the three main theoretical mechanisms that link foreclosure activity to local crime. The investigation of the relationship by crime location suggests that foreclosures change the relative attractiveness of indoor and outdoor locations for crime commission on the blockface. To estimate the relationship between foreclosures and localized crime, the study used detailed foreclosure and crime data at the blockface level in Chicago and a difference-in-difference estimation strategy. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: August 1, 2015