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© 2018 THE TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Do Schools Cause Crime in Neighborhoods? Evidence from the Opening of Schools in Philadelphia

Funded by Centers for Disease and Control (U501CE00165; R49CE002474)


Do Schools Cause Crime in Neighborhoods? Evidence from the Opening of Schools in Philadelphia funded by Centers for Disease and Control (U501CE00165; R49CE002474) A number of studies have found that crime rates are higher in neighborhoods where school are located. However, these studies don’t actually observe crime before and after a school opens in a neighborhood. This study sought to improve on the existing literature and assess what happened to crime in neighborhoods after new schools opened in Philadelphia. Philadelphia experienced a growth in school locations after the Pennsylvania Charter School Law of 1997. We examined changes in crime between 1998 and 2010 in neighborhoods were new schools opened compared to areas that had existing schools and those were schools were never present. Contrary to the previous research we found no evidence that schools increase crime. There is some suggestive evidence that opening schools reduced crime in the block the school was located. Policy discussions about crime as a byproduct of school openings in urban areas are likely overstated.

 

 

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