To strengthen communities and prevent residential abandonment, the City of Philadelphia provides low-income homeowners grants of up to $20,000 to fix structural emergencies in their homes—such as electrical, plumbing, heating, and roofing damage. A new study by LDI Fellows Eugenia South, John MacDonald, and Vincent Reina finds that the program has another benefit: it is associated with reduced crime in the blocks of repaired houses.

The researchers compared city blocks where homeowners had received grants with other blocks on the waiting list for the repair program. Over the span of seven years, the program was associated a nearly a 22% decrease in total crime: 23% decrease in robberies, 22% decrease in homicides, and 19% decrease in assault. Findings of this study suggest that place-based interventions, such as housing repair and greening, can be effective in addressing crime and the lasting scars of historical disinvestment in Black neighborhoods.

This study was partially funded by an LDI Pilot Grant.

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