Declining Police Forces Impacting Property Values

It should not be a surprise that safety is a primary consideration in home buying. In fact, in our survey of almost 20,000 home shoppers, safety ranked above price when asked what were the most important characteristics when purchasing their next home.

So, what happens when a city cuts back on services such as police officers? Our consulting team is finding numerous instances all over the country where demand is declining in certain cities and rising in neighboring cities, and we believe the change is largely attributable to deteriorating services such as police, fire and school quality.

To provide the best feasibility analysis for our land buying clients, and to determine the best cities for our single-family rental landlord clients, we set out to identify which cities are in the most severe financial distress. We found the task somewhat overwhelming and even downright misleading, as many cities that are well-known to be in dire straits had highly rated bonds. The best data we found is on the total number of police and crime. While simplistic, it goes to reason that cities who are cutting back on police are likely to be more amenable to criminals.

California Example

Look at the results in the City of San Bernardino, which is currently in bankruptcy. The number of police officers has steadily declined, while crime has risen. We counsel our clients away from investing in cities such as this, unless their investment thesis fully incorporates the negative changes we believe are occurring and will continue to occur.


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