Journal of Public Management & Social Policy


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.