Plain Dealer Discusses Vacant Property and Crime Report

The Cleveland Plain Dealer featured the Poverty Center’s recently released report in “How Cleveland’s vacant homes, violent crimes and lead poisoning are linked: CWRU report” on June 5, 2017.

The report, Exploring the Relationship Between Vacant and Distressed Properties and Community Health and Safety, provides useful insight to policymakers considering ways to remediate vacant and blighted properties. Featuring dynamic data and colorful interactive maps, researchers designed the study to be easily digestible for law enforcement and city planners to pinpoint and counteract links between vacancy, crime, poverty and lead exposure.

“Our findings are surprising – especially the concentration of violent crime in areas of vacant properties, since one might assume fewer people would be in these areas,” Poverty Center research assistant April Urban, the report’s co-author, said in the press release and discussed by the Plain Dealer . “But where vacancy and lead exposure are at elevated levels and overlap, there is more likely to be violent crime, especially homicide, rape, robbery, weapons violations and aggravated assault.” What the report can’t explain, Urban said, is the how the relationship between vacancy, lead exposure and deteriorated properties works.

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