Even before the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., occurred, people who lived in gunman Adam Lanza's neighborhood said that the Lanza home had always been a "black spot" in the neighborhood. According to neighbors, the Lanza family was very quiet and largely unknown in the neighborhood. Their sprawling yellow Colonial (pictured above), located in a wooded area at the end of Yogananda Street, was very private. It's where police say that Adam Lanza (pictured below) shot his mother to death before going to the school, where he then killed 20 students and six staffers, and himself.
"We know all the neighbors but them," a neighbor of the Lanzas told The Wall Street Journal back in December. "I wouldn't know them if they drove right by me." Now another Newtown resident, Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan died in the Sandy Hook shooting, is speaking out about the Lanzas' place in the neighborhood. Hockley said that even before the shooting occurred, the Lanza home was the only one that wasn't completely part of the community -- "a black spot in the neighborhood," she said.
"No one spoke about them. I've never heard a neighbor speak of them. Perhaps if there was more engagement within a community with neighbors looking out for each other, supporting each other, then maybe they would have gotten help in a different sort of way," Hockley told CBS News in an interview. "But to know everyone on your street except for one house, and that happens to be a house with people that -- or a person who does this -- that's kind of hard to swallow. So there is some regret there."
As Adam Lanza's home and a crime scene, it's expected to suffer even more of a stigma: Home values of homes where criminals have lived can plummet to less than half of the home's initial market price. According to Realtors, homes where murders took place -- and where murderers have lived -- might typically stay on the market for two to seven years longer than they would otherwise.
Furthermore, neighbors' perceptions and third-party judgements can act as deterrents for homebuyers who might otherwise be interested in purchasing the home. "Some people are concerned their kids will be teased or hassled," said Randall Bell of Bell Anderson & Saunders, who specializes in stigmatized real estate. "[They] feel that the crime stigma will distract from just living peacefully."
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