Crime Spike Causes Neighborhood in Long Beach To Become First to Ban Short-Term Airbnb Rentals

By: Alex Trent | Published: May 13, 2024

After a series of drug parties and a shooting in a Long Beach neighborhood, residents voiced their concerns and have successfully banned some new Airbnbs in their neighborhood of College Estates.

The ban on Airbnbs will apply to short-term rentals as a rebuke to the many out-of-state residents who would show up to party at these neighborhood rentals.

Filing a Petition

Andy Oliver, a resident of the College Estates neighborhood in Long Beach, filed a petition in April to the Community Development Department for the damage out-of-state tourists are doing to the neighborhood

A man writing on a piece of paper.

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Oliver experienced seeing a shooting victim outside his own house.

Family-Friendly Neighborhood

Oliver described how the once peaceful, family-friendly neighborhood has been transformed by loud guests, drug parties, and violence.

A person holding their hand up to protest violence.

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“We had all kinds of strange activity going on in our very family-oriented, peaceful neighborhood,” Oliver said

Porch Shooting

While talking to CBS, Oliver described the violation that many residents now feel when relating the story of the shooting that personally affected him.

Two handguns are placed side by side on a white surface, with their barrels pointing to the left

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“The kid is chased cross my lawn and shot right at my front porch,” Oliver said. “People have to live with this knowing that your house, your safe place, has now been violated by violent crime.”

Successful Petition

Oliver’s petition ended up being highly supported, with over 800 homes in the area signing it and agreeing to pass new restrictions on targeting short-term rentals.

A palm tree seen against an orange sky.

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Now house rentals in the neighborhood of College Estates will have to convert to a supervised rental, which will have a host on site, or shut down their property when their short-term rental license expires.

Resistance From Residents

Although Oliver’s petition received support from many homeowners, some who depend on rental income are less enthusiastic about an Airbnb ban.

A series of palm trees seen from below.

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“I rely on the income to help me survive here in California,” said Jean Young, who rents her home out on Airbnb in a different neighborhood. “Most of the people who stay here are referrals from my neighbors.”


Inspiring Others

The success of Oliver’s petition in April has spread to other neighborhoods in the Long Beach area, and led to the formation of an advocacy group called the Long Beach Safe Neighborhood Coalition.

A view of a sandy beach with a thick forest of tropical plants and palm trees on one side with a yellow sunset over the ocean on the other

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“Our group has found growing support in the past few months as people are finding out about our website and the overall cause of protecting residential neighborhoods from unhosted, unsupervised short term rentals – most run by real estate investors and LLCs (to rent on platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, Hotels.Com), etc.,” the group said to Fox News Digital.


Other Neighborhoods Are Interested

The Long Beach Safe Neighborhood Coalition has gotten messages from homeowners across the country on how to deal with the problems presented by short-term rental services like Airbnb in their own neighborhoods.

A street near the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Source: Infrogmation of New Orleans/Wikimedia

“We’ve even gotten inquiries from as far away as North Carolina and Florida from concerned homeowners there battling similar issues. This is a nationwide (really worldwide) issue that is affecting communities everywhere – and residents are standing up against the proliferation of short-term rentals that are transforming once quiet, peaceful neighborhoods into tourist districts and crime havens,” the coalition said.


Residents Hopeful

Christina Nigrelli, is a resident of the South of Conant neighborhood in Long Beach who is hopeful that a city review of their own petition will be successful as well.

A California flag flying above a palm tree.

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“We are hoping to hear before June,” Nigrelli told Fox News Digital. “We are cautiously optimistic. We had a lot of support throughout the neighborhood.”


Airbnb Crime

A study of Airbnb crime in neighborhoods published in 2021 found that the inclusion of Airbnb in those neighborhoods had the effect of eroding “the natural ability of a neighborhood to prevent crime.”

A close up of a vintage red gun on a red background

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“What seems to be the problem is that Airbnb is taking households off the social network of the neighborhood and eroding its natural capacity to manage crime,” says Daniel O’Brien, one of the study writers.


Increase in Violent Crime

Researchers in the study found that increases in Airbnb listings led to more violence in neighborhoods in later years.

A close-up of a police car’s red, white, and blue lights in the night.

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Instances of fights, robberies, and reports of someone wielding a knife, had a tendency to increase in the years following an increase in Airbnb listings. The study was sourced by comparing 911-call data and Airbnb listings from 2011 to 2018.


Slow Burn

The study contends that the evidence does not show that people from outside the community are immediately bringing more crime, but rather criminal elements build up over the years to change the neighborhood.

Many small candles lit at a church service

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“What we’re seeing is evidence of a slower process, one that becomes significant over the years,” said Babak Heydari, one of the study writers. “It’s another support that changing the social fabric of the neighborhood is what’s undergirding these results.”