Neighborhood Blighted Property Removal and 311 Calls for Non‐Emergency Services: A Test of a Marker of Social Control
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Many studies have demonstrated that collective efficacy is associated with positive health outcomes, lower crime, and violence in urban communities, and residents' emotional connection to their community. Remediation of blighted properties has been theoretically linked to increases in collective efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of blighted property remediation on city non-emergency 311 calls for public incivilities and deterioration, as potential markers of collective efficacy. We used a quasi-experimental design to test whether 311 calls for service changed around remediated vacant lots in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, many of which were left vacant after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In six city neighborhoods eligible for blighted property remediation as part of a city program, 203 treated vacant lots were matched 1:3 without replacement to control lots that were eligible for but did not receive treatment. This yielded a total of 812 vacant lots partitioned within 48 months, or 38,976 lot-months. Controls were in the same New Orleans neighborhoods as their matched treatment lots but were at least 250 feet away to minimize contamination. Overall difference-in- differences models detected postintervention declines in calls related to dumping and garbage, and slight but mostly non-significant changes in calls between intervention and control lots in all but calls for dumping and vehicles. Blighted property remediation may have an impact on dumping and garbage, which is important. Despite being geographically specific, low-cost and longitudinal, the nature of 311 calls and structural and historic factors at play in both the concentration of vacant properties in communities and residents' willingness to call must be considered. Further analyses of changes in 311 data and additional qualitative inquiry are warranted to more fully determine the utility of these data.
Keywordsvacant properties; blight; social cohesion; 311 calls
Theall, Katherine P.; Morrison, Christopher N.; Jacoby, Sara F.; Tucker, Amber; Wallace, Maeve E.; Kondo, Michelle C.; Branas, Charles C.; Gustat, Jeanette. 2021. Neighborhood Blighted Property Removal and 311 Calls for Non‐Emergency Services: A Test of a Marker of Social Control. Geographical Analysis. 174(7): 174-. https://doi.org/10.1111/gean.12286.