Crime & Justice Policy

A Longitudinal Examination of Building Demolitions on Neighbourhood Crime RatesAbstract

Wo, J.C.; Kim, Y.A.


Criminological research shows that vacant and dilapidated buildings contribute to higher neighbourhood crime rates. Therefore, the implication is that by physically removing these buildings from a neighbourhood, there will subsequently be a reduction in crime within that neighbourhood. In this study, we focus on the potential crime-reducing benefits of building demolitions—a change in the physical landscape, which may initiate or sustain neighbourhood revitalization. Accordingly, we examine the influence of building demolitions on crime within Philadelphia block groups from 2008 to 2018, controlling for a range of social-ecological factors known to be associated with crime rates. We also differentiate between city and private demolitions to examine the possibility that not all demolitions are created equal in relation to crime.