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Objective

The objective of this study was to determine if the housing-mortgage stress caused by the foreclosure crisis is associated with violent and property crime in U.S. metropolitan areas.

Method

Using a sample of 142 metropolitan statistical areas and controlling for other structural factors thought to be associated with urban violence rates, we employ weighted least squares regression to estimate the association between the Housing-Mortgage Stress Index (HMSI) and six serious crimes: homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

Results

Our results showed no evidence of an association between the HMSI and any of the crime rates.

Conclusions

Despite anecdotal evidence of and growing fear that the foreclosure crisis was accompanied by increasing crime rates in cities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, we found no evidence that metropolitan areas with higher levels of housing-mortgage stress had higher rates of violent or property crime.