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Community Based Visionary Leadership

City-Funded Housing Repairs in Low-Income Neighborhoods Associated with Drop in Crime

HIP Champaign Oscar Smith, Publisher, Champaign Central Illinois

Investing in structural home repairs in historically segregated, low-income, Black and Latino neighborhoods has been associated with reduced crime rates. In Philadelphia, when a home received repairs through a city-funded program, total crime dropped by 21.9% on that block, and as the number of repaired houses on a block increased, instances of crime fell even further, according to research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania published today in JAMA Network Open.In an effort to address an old housing stock and high levels of historical disinvestment in Philadelphia, the city implemented the Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP) in 1995, which repairs structural damages to the homes of low-income owners, such as replacing an exterior wall to stop leaking, or electrical repairs that include replacing circuits that overheat, spark, or won’t stay on, causing inconsistent heating and unreliable electricity. The majority of BSRP homes are in Black and Latino neighborhoods. Researchers hypothesized that over time these micro-investments would have an impact on community health, including crime.

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