Over the past decade, millions of homes across the country have slipped into foreclosure. National media outlets have reported anecdotal evidence suggesting that foreclosed properties attract drug dealers, gang members, prostitutes, squatters and copper thieves. But research to support those claims has been lacking, and disagreement continues about whether foreclosures and bank-owned properties increase neighborhood crime.
Three recently completed studies, funded by NIJ, offer some clarity to the discussion. The bottom line: The three studies, which used different methods, seem to agree that foreclosures and bank-owned properties do not increase criminal activity, except in certain sections of specific U.S. cities.