The Daily Illini

School shootings affect property values

Source: Juan Sebastian Munoz

Source: Juan Sebastian Munoz

Toni Pantone

Toni Pantone

Source: Juan Sebastian Munoz

By Madalyn Velisaris, Staff Writer

While most people tend to focus on the effect school shootings have on the individuals involved, Juan Sebastian Munoz was interested in examining the relationship between school shootings and property values.

Munoz, doctoral candidate in LAS, found that for at least five years after the occurrence of a school shooting, properties in the area see a decrease in price and in the number of transactions.

His research focuses on the areas surrounding the schools in which the 15 largest school shootings have taken place since the late 1990s. For his project, Munoz looked at school shootings that resulted in three or more victims and were not gang- or drug-related.

The property values of family homes tend to decrease more than single-person homes, such as condominiums, according to the study.

Areas with high crime rates tend to have lower property values to begin with, due to their increased probability of being victimized. However, while school shootings are crimes, they tend to happen only once in a school, and they are not normally a result of high crime rates in the area.

In other words, a school shooting does not necessarily indicate that the surrounding area has a high crime rate or that it is likely to be victimized again. Property values decrease nonetheless, Munoz said.

“So basically, people don’t want to come inside the school district, and it is because they don’t want to go to a district that has been affected. A shooting is a signal that the schools are of bad quality,” Munoz said.

Homes located farthest away from an affected school district and on the border of another school district tend to be hit the hardest with a property value decrease after a school shooting. According to the study, this is because people are more likely to chose to live in properties that fall into the school district not associated with a school shooting incident.

Munoz decided to study the correlation between school shootings and property values when he noticed how frequently school shootings were occurring.

Munoz said one of his goals is to spread awareness that not only do school shootings have lasting effects on individuals directly involved in the incidents, but also on entire families and neighborhoods.

He said he was surprised families would choose to move out of areas that were affected by school shootings, given the probability of a school shooting happening again in the same district again is low.

Roger Cannaday, former associate professor in Business, said he was not shocked by the results of Munoz’s findings.

Cannaday said it is important to know other factors that may lead to a decrease in property values, such as the deterioration of neighborhoods and decreasing curb appeal, but he does not think school shootings have a long-lasting impact on area property values.

“It seems like their findings were essentially that it lasted about five years. And I think they didn’t really report it, but my guess would be that if they have done six years or longer maybe they would no longer see the decline,” Cannaday said.

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