Property tax records are generally public records. In order to improve access to these records and enhance transparency, most local governments have adopted online-based property tax record searches. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that online-access to private information allows criminals to more efficiently target their victims. Thus, government officials face the tradeoff of improving transparency at the expense of protecting privacy, and vice versa. It is unclear from existing research if greater transparency in fact facilitates criminal behavior. To test this possibility, property-related crime data were obtained from 150 Georgia counties in 2005 and 2007 and used in a difference-in-difference research design. The results indicate that no systematic relationship exists between online property tax records and property crime. The policy implications of the finding are discussed.
"Do Open Records Facilitate Criminal Behavior? The Case of Property Tax Records,"
Journal of Public Management & Social Policy: Vol. 28:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalscholarship.tsu.edu/jpmsp/vol28/iss1/7