Why do some crimes increase when Airbnbs come to town?


The presence more Airbnb There may be more crimes in a community-but not what you think.

Researchers at Northeastern University reviewed data from Boston from 2011 to 2018. During this period, the number of Airbnb listings continued to grow, and concerns about crime increased. They found that certain violent crimes—fights, robberies, reports of someone holding a knife— tend to increase in a community after a year or more of an increase in the number of Airbnb—researchers say this is a sign of a breakdown in social order .

“You are basically eroding a community’s natural ability to manage crime,” said Dan O’Brien, one of the authors.The study is Published on Wednesday in Public Library One, A peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal published by the Public Science Library.

Curiously, the researchers found that crime reports did not increase at the same time as the increase in Airbnb in the community, indicating that the tourists living in these rental houses neither committed nor attracted crime.

“The problem is not with the visitors themselves, but because you take a bunch of units that normally operate and contribute to community members outside of the social network,” O’Brien said.

In addition, the researchers found that other types of crime, including noise complaints, public drunkenness, domestic violence, and landlord-tenant disputes, did not increase as more units in the community were listed on Airbnb.

Airbnb disputes the method and conclusions of the study. A spokesperson said in a statement that the researchers reached “inaccurate conclusions that are not supported by evidence.”

The speaker questioned whether the researchers controlled other factors, such as new house construction and overall economic conditions. The spokesperson expressed concern about the trend of extending the survey results from a single city to a larger country.

In addition, the spokesperson said that the researchers’ method of tracking new Airbnb listings is flawed because it relies on the time the user “joins” the platform. The spokesperson said that someone can register for the site as a visitor, but has not been able to host it for many years, which makes it difficult to track changes in the list over time.

To measure the impact of Airbnb, the researchers regarded the total number of listings in the community as the degree to which they were clustered in a particular neighborhood. They divide “crimes” into three categories: social chaos, private conflict, and public violence.

Social chaos refers to noise complaints, public drunkenness, and general noise often associated with tourists. O’Brien hypothesized that Airbnb’s slight impact on the definition of crime may be due to the fact that social chaos often occurs near bars and restaurants, which are usually located in the city center, rather than suburbs or residential areas where Airbnb listings are concentrated.

Private conflict refers to domestic violence or disputes between the landlord and the tenant, and anything that indicates a disturbance within the family. During the study period, this did not increase sharply. But the third type of crime, public violence, happened. These are fights, robberies, 911 reports with a knife, etc.

This thesis builds on the existing sociological theory of social organization: the idea of ​​a community of close neighbors who know and trust each other to establish and implement its own social norms, thereby reducing crime.Essentially, the researchers found that the increase in violence is not the presence of tourists or tourists, but absence Long-term residents integrated into the community.

The important thing is that this dynamic takes time to emerge. If the problem is only the presence of rough tourists, then the crime rate will increase with the surge in the number of tourists. On the contrary, the researchers found a lag-one or two years after listings increase, violence tends to increase sharply.

“Every time we look back at a further lag, it is actually more influential,” O’Brien said.

This “erosion” will eventually spread from public places to private places: Researchers have noticed that two years after the increase in housing listings, private violence has increased.

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