It is bad enough for a neighborhood to have a sex offender living in it. The fear for ones children is bad enough. Now a research study out of North Carolina has concluded that having a sex offender move within one tenth of a mile to your home has the effect of lowering property values by 4 percent.
With all 50 states having sex offender registries because of the 1994 legislation know as Megan’s Law, access to local information about where sex offenders live is easily available for homebuyers to look up. These results can be found on the internet and most prospective homebuyers will do a search of their prospective new homes before an offer is made. This has the effect of lowering the value of your home.
Economists Leigh Linden and Jonah Rockoff measure the impact of living in close proximity to such a convicted criminal in There Goes the Neighborhood? Estimates of the Impact of Crime Risk on Property Values from Megan’s Laws (NBER Working Paper No. 12253). They combine data from the housing market with data from the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry to find that when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood, houses within a one-tenth mile area around the sex offender’s home fall by 4 percent on average (about $5,500), while those further away show no decline in value. “These results suggest that individuals have a significant distaste for living in close proximity to a known sex offender,” the authors conclude.
Crime is predominantly a local issue, with the majority of both violent and non-violent offenses taking place less than one mile from a victim’s homes. Most government expenditures on police protection are local. They add up to more than $50 billion a year across the nation. Residents can respond to more crime by voting for anti-crime policies, or by moving away. via the National Bureau of Economic Research