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Effects of Sex Offenders’ Residential Locations on Property Values Using both Parametric and Semiparametric Models


The objective of this study is to assess the impact of sex offenders’ residential locations on property values in Rochester, New York, by using 19,702 screened single residential housing sales data from 2000 to May 2013. This paper uses both fixed effects and semiparametric models and concludes that the impact from a sex offender’s residential location on property values is only regional. Homeowners residing within 0.1 mile, between a 0.1 and 0.2 miles, and between a 0.2 and 0.3 mile radius of a nearby sex offender suffer about 7 %, 6 %, and 3 % property value drops, respectively. These percentage changes translate into $4617, $3731, and $1897 reductions for the average-priced house in the sample, respectively. This negative impact dissipates beyond the 0.3 mile radius.

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Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Nobody knows what happened to Jacob Wetterling after his abduction in October 1989 in St. Joseph, Minnesota. His parents initiated the Jacob Wetterling Foundation and have been supporting Child Safety and Protection laws.

  2. 2.

    Megan Kanka was killed by a prior SO in her neighborhood and Megan’s Laws are named after her.

  3. 3.

    Adam Walsh was murdered and decapitated after being abducted in July 1981 in Florida.

  4. 4.

    The city of Rochester divides the city into four quadrants (Northeast, Southeast, Northwest and Southwest). These quadrants are broken down into 130 neighborhoods, each with their own character.


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Thanks to Jeremy Groves for his great advice, Gayrat Hamrev for his help on the R analysis, and the Rochester City Council’s tremendous support in collecting data.

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Correspondence to Peiyong Yu.



Table 4 Regression results

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Yu, P. Effects of Sex Offenders’ Residential Locations on Property Values Using both Parametric and Semiparametric Models. Atl Econ J 44, 277–291 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11293-016-9505-7

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  • Property values
  • Sex offenders
  • Semiparametric model
  • Fixed effects model
  • Spatial heterogeneity