ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new study shows zip codes across Rochester that have experienced the most evictions over the last five years have also seen the highest spikes in crime.
A local non-profit argues this shows reform to better access to affordable housing in the city could reduce crime. Cornell University gathered eviction filing data from the New York State Unified Court System from 2016 to 2021.
Researchers studied crime trends in every Rochester zip code over that same timeframe and found that higher eviction totals translated to more crime in almost in every area.
For the past four years, Oscar Brewer has lived with his family off Clifford Avenue.
By working closely with people in economically challenging times while facing them himself, he’s seen firsthand how losing your home can lure people into trouble.
“What else are they going to do if they can’t go to work, can’t buy anything to eat, find a way to wash their clothes,” Brewer said. “Then a common person who’s never thought about breaking into homes, breaking into local business result to this.”
Research from Cornell University found that from 2016 to 2021 most zip codes in Rochester that had more evictions also saw the most crimes than communities with fewer evictions.
Showing correlation to larger systemic problems like poverty, housing insecurity, and economic inequality. Leading people to crime.
“When they’re evicted, they’re more likely to lose their employment, they’re likely to experience more poverty, they’re going to have mental health issues, sometimes increase in drug abuse,” said Ritti Singh, Communications Coordinator for City-Wide Tenants Union of Rochester. “All of those things are factors that lead someone to turn to crime. Evictions correlate with every kind of crime.”
Earlier this year Oscar and his family were served an eviction they’re currently fighting in court. He explains that the possibility of being thrown onto the streets has a lot of stress spreading throughout his entire family.
“My five-year-old daughter looked at me and said Dad I don’t want to lose my toys,” Brewer said. “She came to me crying I don’t want to lose toys and the apartment. Mentally for my depression and anxiety that didn’t help out.”
The local Tenants Union argues these problems can be reduced severely if the city and state governments act.
“We could get that stability if the state passes good cause eviction protections keeping families in their homes safe and stable,” Singh stated.
Researchers from Cornell University analyzed trends from 2016 to 2021 by looking at homicides, violence, and property crimes using the Rochester Police Data portal. At the rate per-1,000 people.
The Rochester zip codes at the top of the list for highest crime and evictions were the 14604 and 14614 communities. For a complete overview of the study, click the link here.