Do Vacant Lots Attract Crime?

Vacant lots pose many dangers including vandalism, health risks, and crime - especially if they are left unkept and unmonitored.
vacant lot crime

Do Vacant Lots Attract Criminals? 

Vacant lots can attract crime and wreak havoc on the businesses and communities around them. But what makes an empty lot attract so much trouble? In the next sections we will show you the data behind this and several safety pointers for vacant lot owners. 

This Study Shows that Cluttered Vacant Lots Increase Crime

In 2018 a study was conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. In this study, 541 vacant lots in Philadelphia were selected to be analyzed. THE MAIN QUESTION: Will a cleaned up lot decrease crime rates? 

Before the study was conducted, they gathered crime data on the areas surrounding the 541 lots. Then they cleaned up some of the lots while others remained the same. After 18 months, they collected the same data and compared them. Participants living near the cleaned up lots reported a reduced amount of crime. Here is the data they found:


Events Data
Overall crime -13.3%
Vandalism -39.3%
Fear when going outside -57.8%
Relaxing or socializing outside +75.5%
Gun Violence -29.1%
Burglary -21.9%
Nuisances -30.3%

Cleaning up a vacant lot can make a huge impact on the surrounding communities. But why is a cluttered lot so attractive to criminals or unwanted guests? Let’s get into that next.

1. Squatters Love Vacant Lots

Lots that are overgrown and unmonitored can attract transients who are looking for a place to “squat”. These squatters can be involved in crime, drugs, or public drunkenness. They can soil and litter your lot and be a potential nuisance or threat for the community surrounding it. 

2. Public Health Risk

Along with the squatters who choose to occupy your vacant lot, rodents, insects, and stray animals may also find their way to your lot bringing along with them diseases such as hantavirus and salmonella.

3. Illegal Dumping Ground

If you do not monitor your vacant lot for suspicious activity, it could turn into a place where trash and debris are dumped. The lot could become highly unsanitary, attract even more unwanted squatters and rodents, and ultimately, you are the one responsible for cleaning it up.

4. Graffiti and Vandalism

Graffiti could seem harmless, but in many cases it’s not. Graffiti is an eyesore that could devalue the properties around yours. And in some cases, it could even be the sign of criminal gangs marking their territory. 

How to Better Protect Your Vacant Lot

If a vacant lot is empty for a prolonged amount of time, it is important to ensure that it is safe, secure, and not a public nuisance. One way to do this is to keep the lot clean, as indicated in the Philadelphia study. 

But is that enough to keep away the squatters, stray animals, graffiti artists, and illegal dumpers? There has to be an extra level of protection for your lot. You need live monitored video surveillance cameras. Pro-Vigil is an industry leader in the security space. With features such as IP camera hosting and smart device capability, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vacant lot is protected.

For Vacant Lots Without Access to Electricity

Even if you don’t have access to electricity or places to mount the cameras on your lot, there are still options. Mobile surveillance is a cost-effective service offered by Pro-Vigil for remote locations and those without the usual amenities of a commercial building. Leveraging solar panels and geographic scripting, these solutions are great areas without access to the grid.  

Free Security Resources

If you are interested in learning more about Pro-Vigil, feel free to browse our free resources here. We frequently upload free security tips, tricks, and news alerts so you can stay informed at all times. 

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Blog

Security | Surveillance | Management | Compliance | Inspection
© 2020 Pro-Vigil. All Rights Reserved.