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Study Finds Greening Vacant Lots Reduces Crime

Study Finds Greening Vacant Lots Reduces Crime

By Sara Novak, TreeHugger

Green vacant lots make neighborhood residents feel safer while reducing overall crime, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, found its results by using randomized trial design to examine the impact of vacant lot greening. Two clusters of lots were selected for testing. One cluster was greened with help from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society by removing debris, planting, building fences, and performing regular lawn maintenance. The other cluster was left vacant, according to Science Daily.

Vacant Versus Greened Lots

Twenty-one of the residents living near either the vacant or the greened lots were interviewed before and after the fact.

“Vacant lot greening changes the physical environment of a neighborhood from one that may promote crime and fear to one that may reduce crime and make people feel safer,” said lead author Eugenia C. Garvin, MD, a resident in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine on Science Daily. “Our theory is that transforming vacant lots from a space overgrown with vegetation and filled with trash to a clean and green space may make it difficult for people to hide illegal guns and conduct other illegal activities such as drug use in or near the space. Additionally, green space may encourage community cohesion.”

Crime Rates Reduced

After greening, residents felt safer and more comfortable in their environment. And it turns out they were safer. Researchers also looked at police reports before and after the planting. Total crimes and specifically gun crimes were reduced as well.

Again, Science Daily:

“[T]he research team analyzed police reported crime data from three months before and three months after the greening. Total crime, as well as assaults with and without a gun, was less after the greening.”

All the more reason to turn the nation’s vacant lots into urban gardens.

 

Related:
Urban Vegetation Reduces Air Pollution by 40-60%
Seed Bombs: Change for Change
The Lure of a No Lock Home

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40 comments

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9:28PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

I think it is soothing, and when people care about the neighborhood, criminals don't care to come visit.

10:01AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Forwarding this to my mayor!

10:01AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Forwarding this to my mayor!

5:56PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Sounds good.

12:24PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

ty

12:24PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

ty

7:31AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Interesting. Nothing can go wrong with greening our world :)

5:26PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

What a terrific idea- must be nature that incites respect for the area. It is also pleasing to the
eyes. More communities should adopt this idea, anything to reduce crime and what a better way to utilize an otherwise wasted piece of land.

5:20PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

thanks

1:31PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

it makes sense! they offer a calming effect!

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That was really cool. Loved it. Thank you for posting this. : ) Namaste

Thanks for posting.

thanks for the great idea :)

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