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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Jennifer Wareham


The Midwest has changed over the years, and neighborhoods have changed especially. To combat these changes and improve neighborhoods, the City of Detroit developed a demolition program to remove homes that are abandoned. This study aims to analyze whether these demolitions are having a positive effect on the city through reducing crime. To complete this analysis, the demolitions were broken into three-year waves from 2009 to 2018. Using geographical information systems (GIS) demolitions and crimes were mapped in the city. The crime categories that were examined were violent, drug, property, and total crime. Regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between demolition rates and crime rates across the three time waves at the census block group level. Several control variables were included in the regression analyses, based on social disorganization theory, broken windows theory, and an environmental criminology perspective. These population and housing characteristic control variables were median age, poverty, female head of household with children, vacant households, residential mobility, unemployment, less than a high school education, male population from the ages of 14 to 24 years, renters, and population density. The results partially supported the hypothesis that demolitions would reduce crime. The impact of demolitions on crime appeared to be short-term. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.

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