Why Do Some Crimes Increase When Airbnbs Come to Town?
Wired - 07/14/2021
Researchers from Northeastern University reviewed data in Boston from 2011 to 2018, a period of both sustained growth in Airbnb listings and growing concerns about crime. They found that certain violent crimes—fights, robberies, reports of someone wielding a knife—tended to increase in a neighborhood a year or more after the number of Airbnbs increased—a sign, the researchers said, of a fraying social order.
“You’re essentially eroding a neighborhood’s natural capacity to manage crime,” says Dan O’Brien, one of the authors. The study was published Wednesday in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science.
“Airbnb is correct that the data on listings could be stronger,” says Babak Heydari, one of the authors. “The scraped data are not guaranteed to be perfect. But this weakness serves only to highlight their own lack of transparency.”