Skip to content

Study links growth of Airbnb listings in Boston to 911 calls

People in this story

Boston Globe, July 2021

Airbnb has ingrained itself into travel culture in recent years. But a new study from Northeastern University links the growth of units listed on the short-term rental app in Boston to 911 calls reporting violent crimes.

The study, published last week, highlights how the proliferation of short-term rentals in some Boston neighborhoods is leading — over time — to a breakdown in trust and community bonds, said co-authors Dan O’Brien and Babak Heydari. That, in turn, makes people more likely to call the police on suspicious behavior.

“When you think about Airbnbs, which are literally the most transient population you can imagine, it’s people moving in and out every few days,” said O’Brien, who teaches public policy and criminal justice at Northeastern. “That household itself is just a nonplayer in the social fabric of the neighborhood, and you’ve essentially created a hole there.”

The effect grows stronger over time. 911 call rates don’t change much immediately, the researchers found, but they begin increasing after a year, and more the year after that. This suggests a gradual erosion of the small interactions that build and maintain community bonds.

Continue reading at the Boston Globe.

More Stories

Jared Kushner(left) smiling as Donald Trump (right) speaks.

Jared Kushner Behind the Scenes Role in Donald Trump’s 2024 Run

Wind turbines off the coast of England.

FAQ: Annual climate negotiations are about to start. Do they matter?

Photo collage of Boston University (left) and Northeastern University (right) law buildings. A circular image of a pregnant woman's belly lies in the center. Center text reads

Experts to Examine a Controversial Forensic Test That Has Helped Convict Women of Murder

In the News