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Monday, November 19, 2007

Foreclosure, Crime and Neighborhood Disintegration

According to an article on the CNN website entitled "Crime scene: foreclosure", Cleveland's historic Slavic Village neighborhood is in the nation's top ZIP code for foreclosures. An estimated 800 buildings sit vacant there. The neighborhood has out-of-control crime, correlated to the foreclosure rate. Houses get stripped within 72 hours of being vacated, and aren'ty worth enough money to justify repair. Police are inattentive, and the city can't afford to do much trash cleanup or demolition. People flee in droves, leaving those who remain in fear. Lenders continue to foreclose, with little concern about the effects.

This situation sounds a lot like conditions in north St. Louis in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The article's eerie conclusion reads "as the number of empty lots and abandoned houses grows where houses and residents were once packed in a tight community, there are fewer and fewer neighbors to fight the battle."

(Thanks to Barbara Manzara for the link.)


Chris said...

I visited Slavic Village a year and a half ago, and it was a bustling, stable neighborhood with art galleries and cool shops just starting to pop up--along with an amazing view of the Cuyahoga River and downtown. I am saddened to hear that this once very stable neighborhood is now in such dire straits.

The BBC has also been covering this very closely.

Anonymous said...

A recent BBC article that includes coverage of Cuyahoga County is at:

A study of Chicago foreclosures by the Woodstock Institute demonstrated the adverse impact of foreclosures on property values in the surrounding neighborhood. The study showed that one foreclosure reduces the property values within an eighth of a mile radius by approx. 1%