I just read a study that Lynn Clark and Brent Teasdale presented at a 2005 Toronto conference predicting how subprime loans and mortgage foreclosures might increase crime. They described how high rates of home foreclosure in one city can cause disinvestment in a neighborhood by the municipality and remaining residents. This apparently led to higher crime rates.
I’m not surprised home ownership and neighborhood tenure turns out to be one important chapter in the urban crime story. But more worrying is this: What happens to thousands of at-risk neighborhoods when we multiply that story hundredfold in today's market crash? A few years ago I read a study called A Gathering Storm: Violent Crime in America that predicted just such higher crime problems in years to come. If there was ever a time for a new way forward - now is the time!