Monday, May 28, 2012

The Link Between Trees And Reduced Crime

In nearly every community perusal of a map of the urban forest tree canopy will reveal it is thinnest, or nonexistent, in poorer neighborhoods just as it is in Durham, North Carolina where I life.

But urban foresters are often rebuffed in their efforts to reforest such neighborhoods by the myth that there is a link between trees and crime, often perpetuated by police officers who misapply CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) principles.

Now a study in Baltimore has established a 12% reduction in crime with a 10% increase in tree cover and the magnitude was 40 times greater on public lands.

Often though, urban legends are stubbornly held even in the presence of data and posts like this one by Eric Jaffe on Atlantic Cities.  But even where there is awareness of the benefits of trees, it often doesn’t translate into action.

Urban trees are viewed by most public officials as a good thing for many reasons including not only crime reduction but also lower levels of domestic abuse, water and air quality not to mention aesthetics and property values and economic development.

But urban forestry is not funded or resourced in proportion to these overarching benefits so beyond mere awareness the dots obviously remain unconnected.

Reforestation remains one of the most cost-effective things local and state governments can do in both urban and rural areas including parkland and along roadsides.

Savvier communities will deploy trees to fight crime.


Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Hi Reyn,

I understand that urban trees helps in keeping Urban trees are helps to keep a citygreen, clean, less polluted, avoid soil erosion but I am little confused how it will help in reducing crime.


Reyn said...

Check out the study linked in the blog post