College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-20-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Leonard Jason, PhD

Second Advisor

Megan Greeson, PhD

Third Advisor

Nyssa Snow-Hill, PhD


Trends of subprime and predatory mortgage lending were largely responsible for the housing crisis in the late 2000s. These circumstances resulted in a high concentration of home foreclosures, and subsequent vacant and abandoned housing, particularly affecting disadvantaged neighborhoods. There is evidence to suggest that neighborhood spaces characterized by blighted properties and other signs of physical disorder reduce collective efficacy and informal social control, leading to increases in crime. Despite US government efforts to support economic recovery following the housing crisis, interventions were largely not concentrated enough to match spatial patterns of foreclosure and vacancy, and as such, reductions of crime in these areas were not realized. Recent studies have indicated that governmental housing interventions that are holistic and precisely spatially targeted in areas with supportive infrastructure and investment may lead to significant reductions in neighborhood crime. As such, the current work was an evaluation of the Micro Market Recovery Program (MMRP), a housing initiative that began in Chicago in 2011. Using quarterly data (2018 – 2021) at the census block group level, this study examined the effect of the residential vacancy on violent and property crimes using fixed effects panel model designs. Though crime rates and residential vacancy rate showed similar decreasing trends during the study period, the effects of vacancy were found to not be significantly associated with crime rates using a fixed effects specification. After adjusting for an influx of new properties in the program in 2020, an increased vacancy rate was found to be associated with decreased crime rate (β = -0.082; p = 0.009), suggesting that a 10% increase in vacancy rate was associated with a 0.8% decrease in property crime rate. These inverse study findings and future directions are discussed.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons