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Thread: Pawn shops and their effect on neighborhoods

  1. #1
    Dec 2009
    Raleigh, NC

    Pawn shops and their effect on neighborhoods

    I live in a 1960s subdivision generally called an inner ring subdivision. There are two pawn shops that are requesting a permit to operate near our neighborhood. One is located on a busy corridor, and another is just off that busy corridor. As a real estate agent I am aware of the negative impressions that some agents have about neighborhoods where pawnshops and cash checking businesses are evident. If these agents would take the time to investigate neighborhoods such as mine they would see that judging a book by its cover is not an intelligent thing to do. However, in the meantime the possibility of two additional pawn shops will do nothing to help the image of the area.

    I do think that as pawnshops proliferate they do provide more places for burglars to trade in their ill gotten gains for cash. This makes it harder for law enforcement to track down stolen goods. I know that some pawn shops are more careful than others in accepting goods, but that fact does not solve the problem of those who will accept most anything without question.

    I am interested in finding out if there are any studies that have been done that looked at the effects of pawnshops on existing residential neighborhoods. If you can help, please let me know.

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    I can't answer your question , but some communities have responded by amending zoning codes to make pawn shops a special or conditional use, and/or require minimum spacing between pawn shops and similar predatory or "decline indicator" uses (check cashing, furniture rental, etc).

    In Texas, state law prevents municipalities from requiring special use permits for pawn shops.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Apr 2009
    A golden rule in planning is to plan for the use not user therefore if the zoning district allows a pawnshop (retail use) use by right (permitted use) then they can locate in that area as long as they can meet development requirements.

    There are plenty of studies of commercial uses and their impacts on residential areas but not sure about specific uses such as pawnshops.

  4. #4
    Jul 2006
    My fair Village just completed the processing of a special use permit for our first pawn shop. Very controversial. However, we did a lot of research on the issue and found:

    1. There are very stringent laws in Illinois regarding pawn shops. They are regulated like banks, undergo yearly audits, and must report their daily transactions (along with serial numbers) to the County Sheriff (and also to our local police department, as a condition of their permit).

    2. In order to pawn something, the person receiving cash must be fingerprinted and show a photo ID. The fingerprints are then sent to the police department. How many criminals would sign up for that?

    3. We sent several people to a pawn shop in another Cyburbian's fair City to see what the clientele was and found it to be regular, middle-class folks. They were looking for deals on used videos, music instruments, and jewelry. We didn't see one suspicious-looking individual in 8 different trips to the shop.

    4. We fail to see how this kind of shop, if regulated and well-run, is any different than the jewelry stores that buy gold and silver (who are not regulated) or check cashing stores/currency exchanges.

    Most interesting - as the pawn shop owner pulled his sign permit and erected his sign, I received a call from the Mayor yelling about why we were allowing the international symbol of pawn broking on the sign (another condition of approval was that the pawn shop would not be signed "pawn shop"...but called Town Jewelry and Loan)....little did anyone here know that the international symbol was three gold balls. Who knew?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
    Aug 2005
    Clearwater, FL

    Pawn Shop and Crime Rate

    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

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