Blight removal is a cost beneficial solution to firearm violence

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A recent study by our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania determined that blight remediation of abandoned buildings and vacant lots can be a cost-beneficial solution to firearm violence in US cities. The study was published this week in the American Journal of Public Health.

The research team, led by Dr. Charles Branas,  analyzed the impacts and economic returns on investment of urban blight remediation programs involving 5112 abandoned buildings and vacant lots on the occurrence of firearm violence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1999 to 2013.

They found that fixing up vacant lots and abandoned buildings significantly reduced firearm violence.

They conclude that abandoned buildings and vacant lots may create physical opportunities for violence by sheltering illegal activity and illegal firearms. Urban blight remediation programs can be cost-beneficial strategies that significantly and sustainably reduce firearm violence.


Charles C. Branas, Michelle C. Kondo, Sean M. Murphy, Eugenia C. South, Daniel Polsky, and John M. MacDonald. Urban Blight Remediation as a Cost-Beneficial Solution to Firearm Violence.  American Journal of Public Health: December 2016, Vol. 106, No. 12, pp. 2158-2164. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303434