Monday, November 18, 2013

Greening Our Community II

In a post from earlier this year, we reported that gardeners at our Community Advisory Board meeting noticed that their beautification efforts were having a positive impact on attitudes and perceptions of public safety among their neighbors.  Well, several research studies suggest there might be more to this than the personal opinions of our amazing community partners.

A 2010 U.S. Forest Service study, “The Effect of Trees on Crime in Portland,Oregon,” found that urban areas with smaller trees had higher crime than areas with larger trees. Of the variables analyzed by the researchers, canopy size of both street and the number of trees growing on a lot had the most effect on crime —large trees were associated with a reduction in crime, while small trees were associated with an increase. Their analysis also suggests that small yard trees might increase crime by blocking views and providing cover for criminals.

Two studies from 2012 also suggest greening and beautification efforts may have an impact on crime as well. Temple University researchers in a study titled "Does vegetation encourage or suppress urban crime? Evidence from Philadelphia, PA" found the presence of grass, trees and shrubs to be associated with lower crime rates. Another study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, published in the journal “Injury Prevention,” suggests greening abandoned lots might have an impact on reducing gun crime.

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