Studies: Are increased foreclosures linked to increased crime?

Social Science Quarterly has conducted several studies during the housing crisis and the recent market climb regarding foreclosures and their effect on crime.

According to the studies, increased foreclosure rates are not conclusively linked to increased crime rates. The studies only produced tenuous evidence to support this theory – and yet, not a single study found evidence to prove the opposite.

One of the studies, A Multicity Neighborhood Analysis of Foreclosure and Crime, concluded that increased foreclosure rates mainly led to elevated crime rates in areas with "high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage." Essentially, foreclosures could be linked to crime only in areas that were predisposed to higher crime rates in general.

Rental property management officials situated in areas where foreclosure rates seem to be increasing generally need not worry that higher crime rates will threaten the value of their units or property. If landlords find themselves dealing with increased crime rates, contacting or creating a neighborhood watch system could be a good way to increase security near a property.

One beacon of light for landlords in the potential tunnel of higher crime rates is that more foreclosures will mean more potential tenants looking for homes. However, in areas with increased crime rates, it is especially important for landlords to carefully screen potential tenants after asking them to fill out rental applications.