Increases in HCV Households Are Not Associated with Growing Violent Crime Rates in Neighborhoods | How Housing Matters

Increases in HCV Households Are Not Associated with Growing Violent Crime Rates in Neighborhoods

April 20, 2017  
 
 
 

Does an increase in the number of Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) households increase crime rates in a neighborhood? Leah Hendey and her colleagues examine this question by measuring the association between changes in the property and violent crime rates and the changes in HCV concentration. Using quarterly data from October 1999 to December 2008 in 803 of Chicago’s census tracts, the authors created a dataset with the number of HCV households, property crimes, and violent crimes per 1,000 people in each census tract. The authors used these data to estimate the relationship between the change in the number of HCV households in a neighborhood (in-migration) and the neighborhood’s change in crime rates in the subsequent quarter. The authors differentiate their findings based on the associations found in high-poverty tracts and low-poverty tracts. Finding no links between increases in HCV households and a neighborhood’s violent crime rate, but varying relationships between in-migration and property crime rates, the authors discuss the policy implications of their findings.

Key findings

  • There is no link between increases in HCV households and violent crime in high- or low-poverty neighborhoods.
  • There is no link between increases in HCV households and increases in property or violent crime in low-poverty neighborhoods.
  • A modest association exists between increases in HCV households and increases in property crime in high-poverty neighborhoods.
  • Concentrations of HCV households in a neighborhood that exceed 7 percent of the tract’s households are linked with increases in property crime. This concentration level exceeds the average concentration in all tracts (about 3.5 percent of households) and in high-poverty tracts (6.1 percent).
  • Housing policies should avoid concentrating HCV households in neighborhoods, especially in high-poverty areas.
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Source: Urban Affairs Review
Author: Leah Hendey, George Galster, Susan J. Popkin, Chris Hayes
Publication Date: 2015
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