Reduction in Crime
- In New Haven, Connecticut, a 10% increase in tree canopy was associated with a 14% decrease in property crimes and a 15% decrease in violent crime.
- Similar results were found in Baltimore, Maryland, with a 12% drop in all outdoor crimes for each 10% increase in canopy.
- A public housing development in Chicago, Illinois, had 48% fewer property crimes and 56% fewer violent crimes in or around buildings with more greenspace.
- However, some criminals benefit from vegetation. Automobile thieves in Washington, D.C., were more likely to target cars parked in areas with higher vegetation so their activities could be concealed.
Perceptions about Vegetation and Crime
- A common perception is that urban vegetation is associated with higher crime rate by allowing criminals to conceal themselves.
- This is not a new phenomenon, as laws from 13th century England require landowners to clear the area around highways so “no cover for malefactors shall be allowed.”
- In the present, attitudes about urban vegetation are marginally shaped by social factors such as age and gender, but mostly by the condition and phase of succession in a vegetated area.
Why Less Crime?
- Crime is negatively correlated with the presence of green spaces.
- Quality green spaces can motivate communities to protect and care for these spaces.
- Properly designed and well-maintained green spaces also serve as deterrent to potential criminals by displaying that the residents and businesses in an area are actively involved in the community.