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Princeton University study: Strip clubs and escort services may help reduce sex crimes

A new study adds to a growing oeuvre of research indicating that a regulated sex industry won’t destroy neighborhoods.

Princeton University study: Strip clubs and escort services may help reduce sex crimes
[Photo: smodj/iStock]
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Maybe that strip club is good for the neighborhood.

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This is the finding from an analysis of New York City crime data out of Princeton University, recently published in the Economic Journal. Over an eight-year period (2004-2012), the adult entertainment business experienced a renaissance, with the number of establishments nearly quadrupling. The researchers found that the opening of an adult entertainment establishment correlated with a reduction in sex crimes by 13% the following week, per police precinct.

The researchers conclude that this reduction “is mostly driven by potential sex offenders frequenting these establishments rather than committing crimes.”

Adult entertainment establishments include strip clubs, escort services, adult bookstores, and adult movie theaters. This study adds to a growing oeuvre of research indicating that a regulated sex industry may decrease sex crimes.

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Critically, the researchers found that the presence of the establishments did not impact other types of crime. In other words, drug arrests or car robberies did not increase or decrease in the surrounding neighborhood. This indicates that the businesses are not attracting criminals to the community. Sex crime rates in neighboring precincts also did not change, which is important because it suggests that sex crimes are not simply relocating to the next neighborhood over.