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Cityscape: Volume 14 Number 3 | Article 6


Residential Mobility: Implications for Families and Communities

Volume 14 Number 3

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Public Housing Transformation and Crime: Making the Case for Responsible Relocation

Susan J. Popkin, Urban Institute

Michael J. Rich, Emory University

Leah Hendey, Chris Hayes, Urban Institute

Joe Parilla, The Brookings Institution

George Galster, Wayne State University


The research in this article examines the effect on crime rates of public housing transformation in Atlanta and Chicago, focusing on the neighborhoods receiving households relocated with housing vouchers. Modeling the complex relationship between voucher holder locations and crime, using quarterly data, our analysis found that crime rates fell substantially in neighborhoods with public housing demolition, whereas destination neighborhoods experienced a much lesser effect than popular accounts imply. Nevertheless, on average, negative effects emerge for some neighborhoods with modest or high densities of relocated households compared with conditions in areas without relocated households. Overall, we estimate small net decreases citywide in violent crime over study periods during which crime declined significantly. These findings suggest a need for thoughtful relocation strategies that support both assisted residents and receiving communities.

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