Do “Adult Businesses” increase local crime rates and ruin property values?

Or do people just say that this happens with insufficient evidence? In one study it was shown that local governments were using inadequate data to “justify marginalizing sex-related businesses…” a position they felt worthy of supporting even if it could be supported only by twisting the evidence.

Have a look at Sex, Science, and Social Policy.

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21 thoughts on “Do “Adult Businesses” increase local crime rates and ruin property values?

  1. We’ve had an “adult business” in downtown Winona for the past ten years. No 1) up swing in sex crimes or 2) down turn in property values (other than the general ones experienced by all). Yes, anecdote =/= data, but it is interesting given the heated protests when the business opened. Now, meh, no one cares.

  2. While there are not sufficient studies on the topic, it would not surprise me if property value went down when adult businesses moved in. I would be surprised if violent crime went up, though, because there has been some indication, before, that having available sexual outlets has an inverse correlation in a community with sexual violence. Violence seems to go down when there are are erotic materials available. Just checking google scholar brings up some of that information:

    I think some of my books reference studies on individuals reacting to stressful situations after viewing porn, but I’m not where I can access those books, at the moment. As I recall, there was no increase in violent behaviors by subjects who had viewed porn.

  3. Rick Pakul, Are you it’s the closest? Did you check google maps?

    I also admit I hadn’t considered the possibility that people who get so upset about this could also be avid customers of said establishments. They might know exactly where the nearest shop is, and they might also avoid it for fear of running into a neighbour there.

  4. I don’t need to check Google maps: I know what businesses are closer than that because I’ve either walked to or past them.[1]

    And to be clear, I’ve never actually been in it. My tastes in smut don’t lend themselves to they typical adult video store.

    @Karen: If you grew up here you know the drill. Warden and Finch is right next to Markham and Eglinton. Not like how far King and Yonge is from Queen and University. 🙂

    [1] Closer are three small retail plazas, a gas station, an oil change place, a tiny used car lot, a restaurant/pub and a train station.

  5. Actually I found out a couple of years ago (from a utility worker) that there is a discreet brothel a block from my house (I now know it to be true from conversations with actual clients) that has been around for years now. .

    I’ve lived here for more than 20 years (don’t know how long the operation has been active), but I can’t see that it’s really done any harm here.

    The ‘property values’ thing unfortunately has a lot to do with expectations and should NOT be the determining factor. For example, in many areas property values could be measurably affected by presence of minority nationalities or religions, that does not make it an acceptable criterion. Property values can be affected by anything that a majority may object to, and hence is a dangerous threat to the rights of individual property owners and how they choose to use their property.

  6. A playboy mansion in the ghetto would probably increase property values. So it seems that blanket statements such as “porn shops never affect property values” are a bit too generalizing.

    Not all neighborhoods are equal to all other neigborhoods, just as not all sex shops are equal to all other sex shops. There are brothels where children are tied to beds — that’s a “sex shop” also and dare I say having one of those in the neighborhood would decrease quality of life and who cares about how prop values are affected.

    And of course most sex shops aren’t selling sex at all — more accurately they’re selling the sexual availibility of women for the temporary pleasure of men. Claiming that the argument is one of property values instead of quality of life issues and humanitarian issues is a massive distraction technique.

  7. m Andrea, way to make it clear that you didn’t read the post linked…or even absorb the topic of this post. The issues of property values and crime are precisely the argument, in this case, the legal argument for marginalizing accepted First Amendment rights. You might wish that the argument were something else, but it isn’t, not in council meetings and courtrooms.

    You’re welcome to make your argument and to try to make it strong enough to justify a restriction of rights. You might be better off doing it in a legal setting rather than a tangentially related blog post, however.

  8. The “article” assumes that property values are not affected by sex shops. I’m merely pointing out how illogical that statement is, and noticing the reframing. Nothing more, and yet my comment upsets you… kinda strange, frankly.

  9. Would you like to my latest favorite quote? It’s by Susan Brownmiller:

    “Perpetuation of the concept that the â??powerful male impulseâ?? must be satisfied with immediacy by a cooperative class of women, set aside and expressly licensed for this purpose, is part and parcel of the mass psychology of rape.”

    It’s quite nice! 🙂

  10. Yanno, it’s the same as asserting an argument which states “property values are not affected by the presence of slave traders so therefore it’s acceptable for a neighborhood to have slave traders”.

    It’s just a roundabout way of protecting racism without making the goal obvious… Thanks for making me think about it more, Stephanie!

  11. The blog post to which Greg linked makes no statements about whether property values are affected by “sex shops.” Nor does it reframe “the issue,” whatever you might think the issue is. It spends two paragraphs explaining the legal situation that makes property values relevant to the degree to which the location of sex-related businesses can legally be restricted. Then it summarizes a study on the evidence usually presented by those who argue for strong restrictions, which finds that the strength of that evidence is generally misrepresented.

    The idea that sexual speech is somehow inherently harmful (leaving aside the already-illegal situations you presented) is what’s irrelevant to today’s legal situation. That’s already been decided by the courts. That you feel it should have been decided differently is a distraction from a discussion of the legal evidence that is currently allowed to affect these decisions.

    Not only are you trying to tell me what I need to write instead of what I did (I’m pretty sure you can do that on your blog if you’d like), but you also didn’t/don’t have a clue what I actually wrote. Can you think of a good reason I wouldn’t get annoyed at you misrepresenting my writing?

  12. I thought a “sex shop” was a place where you buy things … porn, various equipment, etc. … not sex. I think at sex shop where women or girls were tied to a bed for being raped would be called something else. In other words, I sense a certain amount of talking past each other here, at least when speaking of a thing called a “sex shop.”

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