Monday, 9 April 2018

Crime and gentrification...

We were all utterly shocked to discover that, for the first part of 2018, the rate of murder in London was worst than that once Capital of Crime, New York City:
London police investigated more murders than their New York counterparts did over the last two months, statistics show, as the British capital’s mayor vowed to fight a “violent scourge” on the streets.
Now, setting aside that New York is probably still worse than London despite its impressive decline in crime, there might be a reason for this - gentrification or, if you prefer it "positive income sorting":
These metros are expensive because they have restricted their supply of new housing even as they continue to generate strong demand for it. As a result, homebuyers and renters in these metros compete with each other over a smaller housing stock, bidding up prices, and pushing out those who are the least financially able. The high cost of housing also deters potential in-migrants, especially if their incomes are low, which drives up the income levels of those who are ultimately observed moving in. Of course, homeowners and certain fortunate renters can stay put in their homes for a long time, even when they can no longer afford them at current prices, so positive income sorting can be a slow process.
That's from housing economist, Issi Romem in an article that's nothing to do with crime. But it seems to me that, as places become wealthier and more exclusive at scale the sort of people who are more likely to commit crime (young, male, less well-educated, lower social class) simply aren't there to commit the crime. What Romem found, however, was that cities with more socially fair housing policies maintained a balance (the income and social class of in-migrants matched that of out-migrants), which is perhaps great for a wide range of other social factors but less good for crime rates. It's a thought.


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