August 3, 2020

Urban Blight Remediation Reduces Violence

Urban Blight Remediation Reduces Violence

Frank P. Crivello of Phoenix Investors Discusses How Urban Blight Remediation Reduces Firearms Violence

As reported in Kenosha News and The Journal Times

Most American cities have their share of abandoned buildings, ranging from condemned houses to abandoned warehouses. Studies repeatedly show that these abandoned structures, often referred to as urban blight, contribute to increased local crime. Through public-private partnerships, businesses and municipalities can address these issues by implementing urban blight remediation programs.

How Industrial Urban Blight Hurts Neighborhoods

Industrial urban blight occurs when an owner abandons a building; as the building falls into disrepair, it becomes blighted. Blighted industrial buildings may span tens of thousands of square feet, becoming an eyesore for other nearby businesses and residences.

Some ways that blighted buildings can negatively impact the surrounding area include:

Property Values: As buildings fall into disrepair and decay, their property values decrease, often negatively impacting neighboring lots, as well.

Pollution: Lead paint peels, abandoned chemicals leak, and asbestos eventually spreads—polluting soil, contaminating groundwater, and producing airborne contaminants that spread beyond the blighted facility.

Health: Pollution and pests, such as rats and cockroaches, generated by blighted buildings pose health risks to nearby businesses and residences. Neighborhoods with significant blight also suffer from higher rates of depression.

CrimeBlighted buildings offer a haven for clandestine criminal activity, providing expansive space where stolen goods or illegal firearms can be stored or sold, and violent crimes can be conducted in private.

Urban Blight Remediation Proven to Reduce Firearms Violence

In 2019, the United States saw more than 15,000 firearms deaths, while another 30,000 were injured. The link between urban blight and crime, specifically gun violence, has been studied extensively over the last several decades:

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania monitored the remediation of 5,112 blighted buildings from 1999 to 2013, discovering notable decrease in gun violence in the areas directly surrounding the blighted properties.

A Detroit-based blight remediation study showed that demolishing 5 blighted buildings in an area resulted in an 11% reduction in firearm assaults. Demolishing 6-12 buildings seemed to correspond with an even larger reduction.

In partnership with the City of Milwaukee, Phoenix Investors demolished an abandoned facility that had become a haven for illicit activities. Careful analysis of data collected over four years by the Milwaukee Police Department revealed a 32% reduction in serious crimes in the area surrounding the building site.

In both Detroit and Pennsylvania, the impact on non-firearm violence in both studies was negligible, suggesting that remediating urban blight has a significant impact on violence specifically related to firearms.

Urban Blight Remediation at Phoenix Investors

At Phoenix Investors, we believe that continued public and private efforts to remediate urban blight contributes to a reduction in national gun violence. Our passion for urban blight remediation inspires us to partner with local and state governments on projects of this nature.

Founded by Frank P. Crivello, Phoenix Investors is a national commercial real estate firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our core business is the revitalization of former manufacturing facilities throughout the United States. This strategy leads to positively transforming communities by restarting their economic engines. For more information, visit

Mr. Frank P. Crivello began his real estate career in 1982, focusing his investments in multifamily, office, industrial, and shopping center developments across the United States. From 1994 to 2008, Mr. Crivello assisted Phoenix Investors in its execution of its then business model of acquiring net lease commercial real estate across the United States. Since 2009, Mr. Crivello has assisted Phoenix Investors in the shift of its core focus to the acquisition of industrial real estate throughout the country.

Given his extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate, Mr. Crivello provides strategic and operational input to Phoenix Investors and its affiliated companies.

Mr. Crivello received a B.A., Magna Cum Laude, from Brown University and the London School of Economics, while completing a double major in Economics and Political Science; he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Outside of his business interests, Mr. Crivello invests his time, energy, and financial support across a wide net of charitable projects and organizations.

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