(NewsNation) — The cost of crime has many dimensions, and while it costs the individual taxpayer nearly $3,000 annually to fund fighting crime, violence also costs America’s neighborhoods their property values.
The wider economic effects of violence on a neighborhood can have a ripple effect. Crime and/or the “reputation” of being a crime-ridden neighborhood impacts the people who live there and their property values.
“Communities like this need to see some hope, something thriving, something moving,” Asiaha Butler said.
For Butler, the CEO of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.), the fight to reshape the perception of Englewood, on Chicago’s South Side, is personal.
“We’re not an island on our own. We are a part of the thread of this city and if Englewood loses, the city of Chicago loses, the state of Illinois loses and the United States loses,” Butler said.
Crime is a major factor in keeping Englewood from being all that it can be.
According to statistics from the Chicago Police Department, overall crime in the city is up nearly 40% over the last year, and Englewood plays a big part in that.
Englewood consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city, but there are other factors driving down home values in the neighborhood.
The average home in Englewood averages about $102,000, according to Redfin, which is actually down 22.1% from last year.
“Every community in Chicago is unique, but every community in Chicago is definitely worth looking into,” realtor Kimberly Offord said. The Coldwell banker said there is value in future homebuyers taking the time to explore communities they may not have previously considered.
“When you have a large amount of negative media and negative attention, the positive things get drowned,” Offord said.
But on the other side of town, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, there has been a noticeable shift in both the demographics and property values. According to Redfin, a single-family home averages about $640,000 despite an increase in crime.
In Lincoln Park, thefts are up 87%, car thefts are up 75% and sexual assaults are up 163% this month.
“We’re missing the bigger issue and the bigger issue is the disinvestment in these communities,” Michelle Mills Clement said.
Clement, the CEO of the Chicago Association of Realtors, said crime will drop and property values will rise when homeowners, realtors and elected leaders work in partnership.
“You know, there’s a label of being crime-ridden. But there’s so much more that goes into that. I think, when I go back to talking about disinvestment, I have to go back to the policies that are in place. And that is really what the label becomes is just the label,” Clement said.
And some people, like Butler, are determined to fight that “label.”
“I am excited for what I stand for. I stand for a community that’s been shunned by so many people, so that’s what gives me hope to keep going,” Butler said.
In a 2016 study, it was estimated that crime in the U.S. was costing homeowners more than $2 billion every year in lost home equity.