Gathering New Data

We have visited the Recorder’s Offices in both Springfield (Sangamon County) and Urbana (Champaign County) in order to compile a list of Sheriff Deeds recorded between 2006 and 2013. Both counties use the Laredo software from Fidlar Technologies and the Recorders of Deeds kindly produced database queries containing the data that we needed.

Sangamon County Offices, Springfield, IL

Sangamon County Offices, Springfield, IL

Next we will extract the street addresses of the foreclosed properties so that Sarah Kolbe, our GIS consultant, can map them.

Research Team

The 2014 PNC Bank Foundation fellows are Stephanie (Steph) McAtee [left] and Dominique (Nikki) Castle [right, seated]. Brigitta Jakob [center] has joined us as part of the Summer Enrichment Program of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at IWU.

2014 PNC Fellows

Left to Right: Stephanie McAtee, Brigitta Jakob, and Dominique Castle (seated)

Steph is a sophomore Economics and International Studies double major and Nikki is a junior Economics and International Studies double major. Brigitta, a first-year Economics major, is completing a summer internship on Economics Research through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at IWU.

Exploring TIF Districts for West Bloomington

During the spring semester four IWU seniors (Jamal Smith, Jonathan (Jake) Bates, Megan Rogers, and Xinlin Xu) completed an internship with the City of Bloomington’s Economic Development Office. We met every other Friday in order to explore the economic viability of establishing a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District in West Bloomington.


At the end of the semester the students delivered a presentation of their findings in front of the City Council. You can read the story here.

Crime Flows and Ethics

Jonathan (Jake) Bates was selected to participate in the Seventh Annual Undergraduate Ethics Symposium organized by the Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University.


Jake Bates (back row, center) at the 2014 Prindle Institute’s Undergraduate Ethics Symposium

The organizers called for proposals where undergraduate student work showcased the ethical dimension of the “critical issues of our time”. Jake wrote a short paper on the ethical implications of using crime data analysis to allocate Police resources. You can read the IWU news story here.

Presenting at the MEA Annual Meeting

The Midwest Economics Association (MEA) has accepted two papers for presentation at their 2014 Annual Meeting in Evanston, IL (see the program).


Normal Police Department Sub-Beat Map

Jonathan (Jake) Bates will present his own Senior Project on crime flows in Normal, IL, and join Matthew Bishop and Benjamin Aberle in their overview of socioeconomic determinants of foreclosures in McLean and Peoria Counties.

The Grant was Renewed

In late October 2013 we applied for a renewal of the research grant. We argued that “Given the interest in the preliminary research conducted this past year, we believe there is considerable community interest in expanding this project in both scope and output.” We proposed to extend the data-gathering and analysis efforts to Sangamon and Champaign Counties. The grant renewal was awarded in late November.

Presenting Our Findings

By overlapping the foreclosure data with the U.S. Census American Community Survey data we have been able to determine the degree of association between the socio-economic composition of different neighborhoods and the prevalence of foreclosures.

Block groups overview_McLean

U.S. Census Blocks. McLean County, IL.

Block groups overview_Peoria

U.S. Census Blocks. Peoria County, IL.

We have started a series of formal presentations of our findings, the first one in Peoria, October 11th, in front of the Peoria Opportunities Foundation (POF), the Mid Central Community Action Inc., the Community Preservation Clinic and the Tri-County Planning Commission. You can read a news release here.

Sharing Data

The data that we have gathered for our research relate to the work of a number of non-for-profit organizations.


In the City of Bloomington the Mid Central Community Action Inc. is one of several organizations administering a multi-year housing-related grant from the State of Illinois Attorney General’s Office. You can read a newspaper story about it here. We created a data handout for one of their meetings and plan on getting involved assisting their work. You can see the data handout here.


In the City of Peoria, the Peoria Opportunities Foundation (POF) and the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) are involved in similar grant-funded work. You can read a news release here. We have answered a request for data-sharing with the POF in order to facilitate their work.