Study: Fixing Up Vacant Buildings May Reduce Crime


The rehabilitation of abandoned buildings may be associated with reductions in certain crime categories, according to a University of Pennsylvania study in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study focuses on a Philadelphia city ordinance passed in 2011 that called for building owners to fix the broken doors and windows of vacant buildings. Of the 2,356 buildings cited by city officials as in need of remediation, 29 percent were fixed up between January 2011 and April 2013, according to the study.

Researchers compared crime rates near remediated buildings to unmediated ones within half a mile. They found a significant decrease in both serious and nuisance crimes in areas near remediated buildings. In particular, gun assaults decreased by 39 percent near remediated buildings.

Assaults overall were reduced by 19 percent. So-called nuisance crimes, such as vandalism, public drunkenness and illegal dumping, dropped by 16 percent, according to the study.

Researchers noted that the ordinance impact varied from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Read the full study HERE.

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