Re-Examining the Link Between Vouchers and Crime


A correlation between households using Section 8 housing vouchers and crime is the cause of a common misconception, according to a new study by the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

Communities often resist households assisted by the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, because voucher users are associated with crime, but the NYU study found that voucher-users don't cause crime, they tend to settle in areas where crime is already high.

Researchers studied annual neighborhood-level data on vouchers and crime from Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

In their multiple regression analysis, researchers weeded out differences across neighborhoods by controlling for crime trends in the broader area, and selected neighborhood characteristics that vary over time.

Researchers note that, “one of the voucher program's central purposes is to help households reach 'better' neighborhoods; our findings suggest that, at least where better is equated with low crime rates, this objective is not being achieved.”

Read the researchers' policy brief HERE.

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