Do Evictions Increase Crime? Evidence from Nuisance Ordinances in Ohio


This paper provides the first causal evidence of the effect of evictions on crime. I leverage the exogenous variation in evictions due to the staggered adoption of nuisance ordinances in Ohio's cities from 2000 to 2014—a policy that sanctions landlords for nuisances on their properties. I find that each 10 percent increase in evictions leads to 5.5 percent higher burglary into structures and 8.5 percent higher vehicle theft. Other crimes are not affected. The effect appears to be driven by higher homelessness and the pursuit of shelter by illegal means. Findings highlight an unexplored social cost of evictions.