NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING INVESTMENTS AND VIOLENT CRIME IN SEATTLE, 1981–2007*
Despite significant advances in the study of neighborhoods and crime, criminologists have paid surprisingly less attention to the extralocal forces that shape violence. To address this issue, we draw on an emerging body of work that stresses the role of home mortgage lending—a resource secured via interaction with external actors—in reducing neighborhood violence and extend it by addressing concerns that the lending–violence relationship is spurious and confounded by simultaneity. We explore the longitudinal relationship between residential mortgage lending and violence in Seattle with a pooled time series of 118 census tracts over 27 years, and we instrument our endogenous predictors (home mortgage lending and violent crime) with changes in their levels from prior periods. Employing Arellano–Bond difference models, we assess both the effect of mortgage lending on violent crime as well as the effect of violent crime levels on mortgage activity. We find that infusions of home mortgage lending yield reductions in subsequent violent crime; yet the impact of violent crime on subsequent lending is not significant. Results underscore the importance of incorporating external forces such as home mortgage lending into explanations of neighborhood violence.
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