This paper studies how the presence of adult entertainment establishments affects the incidence of sex crimes, including sexual abuse and rape. We build a high frequency daily and weekly panel that combines the exact location of not-self-reported sex crimes with the day of opening and exact location of adult entertainment establishments in New York City. We find that these businesses decrease sex crime by 13% per police precinct one week after the opening, and have no effect on other types of crimes. The results imply that the reduction is mostly driven by potential sex offenders frequenting these establishments rather than committing crimes. We also rule out the possibility that other mechanisms are driving our results, such as an increase in the number of police officers, a reduction in the number of street prostitutes and a possible reduction in the number of potential victims in areas where these businesses opened. The effects are robust to using alternative measures of sex crimes.
That is from a new paper by Ciacci and Sviatschi, via Jennifer Doleac. We find this clash of values repeatedly in public policy. Do you wish to side with the interests of the actual victims — the people who might end up abused and raped? — or do you wish to side with landlords and homeowners who might find their property values reduced by sex establishments? “Export the bad stuff!”, this is a NIMBy dilemma yet again.