Analysis: Homeless Villages Don't Spur Crime

Homeless villages aren't hotbeds of crime, according to recent analysis. Rather, they can be part of a "crime prevention ecosystem."

1 minute read

May 29, 2018, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Homeless Encampment

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

"[A] Guardian investigation in two US cities where such highly organized homeless villages are common, Seattle and Portland, found that their presence was not generally accompanied by a rise in crime in their neighborhoods," reports Thacher Schmid. "In fact, crime was likelier to go down."

The Guardian analysis backs up statements by researchers from George Washington University and the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, as quoted in the article.

That being said, "[t]here is a distinction between these villages and the ad hoc, curbside agglomerations of tents and tarps that have come to symbolize the surging homelessness crisis in many cities across the western US," according to Schmid. Homeless villages are sanctioned, to varying extents, "are largely self-governing, and have defined boundaries and codes of conduct."

It's also worth noting that the Guardian used public crime statistic dashboards (Seattle and Portland) to conduct the analysis, exhibiting yet another productive application for municipal data sharing platforms.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 in The Guardian

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