Megan's Law Hits Local Property Prices

When a sex offender moves into a neighborhood, prices of houses within a one-tenth mile area around the sex offender's home fall.

Read Time: 2 minutes

June 12, 2006, 1:00 PM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


If a registered sex offender, reformed or not, moves into your immediate neighborhood, it's bad financial news. The potential price for your home likely has been trimmed substantially.

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.

...A 1994 federal law, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Program, created a mandatory state requirement for the registration of sex offenders. It threatens non-complying states with a reduction of federal grants for state law enforcement efforts. The legislation was extended in 1996 to require the dissemination of information in the registry.

By now, all 50 states maintain a registry making some information available to the public. However, the method of compliance varies significantly. Forty-six provide public Internet access to the offender registry. Louisiana has perhaps the most aggressive notification law. It requires offenders to, "give notice of the crime for which he was convicted, his name, and his address to at least one person in every residence or business within a one mile radius of his residence in a rural area and a three tenths of a mile radius in an urban or suburban area."

Thanks to The NBER Digest

Saturday, June 10, 2006 in National Bureau Of Economic Research

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of dense single-family homes in neighborhood still under construction

How Virginia Counties Use Zoning to Stifle Development

Some state legislators are proposing action at the state level as counties block development using zoning and development requirements even as housing prices rise sharply in the region.

January 23, 2023 - The Virginia Mercury

New York City Coronavirus

The Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to Remake Downtown

Urban cores around the country were transforming into live, work, and play destinations before the pandemic. The pandemic was a setback for this transformation, but it could also be a rare opportunity. It’s up to city leadership to seize it.

January 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Rendering of red seven-story student housing building with students walking in open grassy plaza in front of building

L.A. Times Editorial Board Calls for CEQA Reform

The Board argues that the environmental law, while important, has too often been ‘weaponized’ by NIMBY groups to delay or halt housing development.

January 31 - Los Angeles Times

Seattle buses in line at a depot with Seattle skyline in background

Seattle Brings Free Transit to Public Housing

Linking transit programs to housing can lower administrative costs and streamline the process for riders.

January 31 - Route Fifty

Broad street in downtown Columbus, Ohio with two pedestrians in crosswalk

Columbus Could Lower Downtown Speed Limits

The city council will vote on a proposal to lower speed limits to 25 miles per hour to improve safety and make downtown more walkable and welcoming to pedestrians.

January 31 - The Columbus Dispatch