Revealing the Rapist Next Door: Property Impacts of a Sex Offender Registry

57 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2015 Last revised: 29 Aug 2015

See all articles by Susan Yeh

Susan Yeh

Charles River Associates (CRA)

Date Written: August 25, 2015

Abstract

How do homebuyers respond to perceived crime risks about sex offenders in the neighborhood? I evaluate local property and crime responses to Internet sex offender registry listings. Among more permanent listings, a nearby offender depresses house prices by up to 4 percentage points. I document that the majority of registered sex offenders are transient, with durations of less than 6 months at an address. While a growing literature suggests that housing stability is important in reducing criminal behavior, the market perceives heightened crime risks to be attached to the listings of registered offenders with more stable housing, but not to those who are transient or who have moved away. Prices correspond more strongly to long-term offender locations than to locations of actual sex crimes. I find small, localized reductions in rapes involving weapons within 0.1 miles of offender addresses and increases in sex crimes farther away.

Keywords: property, housing, crime, sex offenders

JEL Classification: K42, K14, K11, R21

Suggested Citation

Yeh, Susan, Revealing the Rapist Next Door: Property Impacts of a Sex Offender Registry (August 25, 2015). International Review of Law and Economics, Forthcoming; George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 15-06; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 15-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2650472

Susan Yeh (Contact Author)

Charles River Associates (CRA) ( email )

1201 F. St. NW
Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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