Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Criminal Justice

Degree Program

Criminal Justice, PhD

Committee Chair

Swartz, Kristin

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Adelson, Jill L.

Committee Member

Adelson, Jill L.

Committee Member

Higgins, George E.

Committee Member

Nix, Justin

Author's Keywords

sex offenders; spatial analysis; housing; homebuyer; awareness; multilevel modeling


As stigmatized persons, registered sex offenders betoken instability in communities. Depressed home sale values are associated with the presence of registered sex offenders even though the public is largely unaware of the presence of registered sex offenders. Using a spatial multilevel approach, the current study examines the role registered sex offenders influence sale values of homes sold in 2015 for three U.S. counties (rural, suburban, and urban) located in Illinois and Kentucky within the social disorganization framework. Homebuyers were surveyed to examine whether awareness of local registered sex offenders and the homebuyer’s community type operate as moderators between home selling prices and the distance to the nearest registered sex offender. Registered sex offenders were not associated with home sale values after accounting for neighborhood characteristics. Urban homebuyers were most likely to be aware of local registered sex offenders. The homebuyers’ proximity to the nearest registered sex offenders is not related to the awareness of nearby registered sex offenders. Non-urban and urban homebuyers who are aware tend to reside further from registered sex offenders and buy higher priced homes, whereas unaware homebuyers seemingly buy homes without the consideration of nearby registered sex offenders. The importance of neighborhood characteristics in a spatial multilevel framework and the effects of sex offender policies are highlighted.