Walter White Cost His Neighbors Almost $30K
Study shows meth labs a huge drain on local property values
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 29, 2013 10:10 AM CDT
This image provided by AMC shows Bryan Cranston as Walter White in a scene from "Breaking Bad."   (AP Photo/AMC, Ursula Coyote)

(Newser) – Don't worry, no spoilers ahead (though Business Insider tells this story through slightly spoiler-colored glasses, if you're up to speed on the show). Breaking Bad's Walter White may have stashed a lot of meth-cash in his home over the seasons, but he's not exactly bringing money to the neighborhood. A 2011 study found that when a meth lab is discovered, homes within an eighth of a mile of it see their values decline 10.5%, and as much as 19% the first year.

While Walt didn't actually have a lab in his home, given the state of that house—and the infamy surrounding Heisenberg—it's safe to assume the effect would be similar. The median property values in Albuquerque's Loma Del Rey neighborhood is $265,000, so a 10.5% drop would cost each homeowner on the block $27,825. We'd be horrified, too. The study's authors argue that, given how much American wealth is tied up in homes, policies to reduce the number of meth labs "should be well funded." Meanwhile, with Breaking Bad's finale set for tonight, Aaron Paul made a much heralded cameo on Saturday Night Live last night.

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Apr 24, 2014 1:38 PM CDT
Just the opposite is true in the tri-state metropolitan area New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. The real estate lobby is the biggest local political contributor in NYC and news of the burgeoning meth lab problem is squashed. Neighbors of a former meth lab in Brooklyn tried for YEARS to get NYPD to do something about a meth lab but NYPD did absolutely nothing. One fine day they blew the whole top floor of a 3 family house to bits and killed 3 people. It never made the evening news or any news, completely stonewalled. The building was renovated but now is only a 2 family with a duplex bedroom on the 2nd flr. Meth lab explosions are passed off as "gas explosions" or anything but what they really are. Politicians would rather see the health, safety and even the lives of people forfeited than forego the contributions from the powerful real estate lobby.
Sep 30, 2013 8:40 AM CDT
My wife and I stopped at a hotel along the Oregon coast about 30 years ago. When we got out of the car near our room, I smelled a strong odor of a meth lab and mentioned it to my wife. We went about our day sightseeing and visiting with friends. The next day, I read in the Oregonian that a drug bust was done at the hotel we were staying. A meth lab has a unique odor and is hard to suppress. It can be smelled from far away. Too funny.
Sep 29, 2013 12:39 PM CDT
I am the one who comments.