Insider, July 2021
An uptick in violence in certain neighborhoods in Boston appears to be linked to an increase of Airbnb rentals in the areas over the span of several years, according to a study published this month. The study was published July 14 by researchers at Northeastern University in Boston, Boston.com reported on Friday.
Because the increase in violent crime occurred several years after Airbnb rentals were introduced to the area, the researchers linked the uptick in crime to a disruption in the social dynamic in the communities created by the increase in short-term rentals, and not to an increase in tourism. “Airbnb prevalence in a neighborhood appears to be associated with increases in violence, but not with public social disorder or private conflict,” the study found.
Representatives for Airbnb did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment Saturday.
There were more than 6,000 Airbnb rentals in Boston in 2018, according to the research, more than double the number the city had in 2014, the study said. “What’s interesting about social organization is that it’s not really about going over to each other’s houses for backyard barbecues, it’s not knowing all your neighbors” Daniel O’Brien, one of the researchers who conducted the study, told Boston.com. “It’s as little as being familiar strangers.” Airbnb in a blog post last week appeared to defend itself against claims presented by the researchers. “The study examines a handful of districts in Boston only, and then extrapolates that into nationwide generalizations without providing detailed evidence,” the company said.