Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Following the increase in foreclosures across the United States from 2007 to 2009, there was concern that foreclosed homes could lead to higher rates of crime in certain neighborhoods. Using social disorganization theory, the purpose of this difference-in-difference research design was to study the link between foreclosure levels, and crime rates in neighborhoods in Charlotte, North Carolina. Propensity score matching was used to examine whether neighborhood foreclosure rates have an impact on neighborhood crime level while controlling for neighborhood conditions. Data were acquired from Charlotte Neighborhood Quality of Life Studies, conducted biannually in 173 neighborhoods in Charlotte, North Carolina. Data for the years 2004 and 2010 were used for the analysis. The sample included 54 neighborhoods exposed to foreclosures (n = 27), and neighborhoods not exposed to foreclosure (n = 27). Data were also acquired from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and housing authorities for the same years. Using hierarchical multiple regression analysis, a significant relationship was found between neighborhood foreclosure level and neighborhood crime level, and school dropout levels and neighborhood crime level (p <.05). The positive social change stemming from this study includes recommendations to local policy makers and law enforcement agencies to consider policies and strategies that reduce crime and address larger neighborhood problems such as school dropouts and unemployment. Addressing these policies may result in crime reductions, and improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents.