Leaf Relief

Urban Trees Act as Crime-Stoppers




The city of Baltimore’s high crime rate inspired a gritty TV drama. But a new study (Tinyurl.com/TreeCrimeReport) by the University of Vermont’s Transportation Research Center, in Burlington, found that a 10 percent increase in trees in a given area led to a 12 percent decrease in crime. “It’s really pretty striking how strong this relationship is,” says Austin Troy, lead author of the study, published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

Researchers examined the correlation in and around Baltimore using aggregated crime data and combining it with high-resolution satellite images to conduct the analysis. The working hypothesis is that because people enjoy spending time in pleasant outdoor spaces, there are more observers present to hinder criminal activity. Also, a well-maintained landscape seems to send a message that someone may be watching.

To avoid culture bias, the study considered many socioeconomic factors, including housing, age, income and race of residents, as well as variables such as rural versus city setting and population density. The findings should prove helpful to urban planners.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

City Smarts

Cities throughout the country are exploring fresh ways to make cities both environmentally sustainable and pedestrian- and bike-friendly.

Floral Throughways

If you’re awed by the mass of blooms decorating highway meridians and embankments, you often have local garden clubs to thank, along with partnering state highway departments.

Nature’s Metric

The Living Future Challenge has developed a bold framework to evoke fresh thinking about the design of systems, products and buildings.

Making Strides

More than 400 mayors are supporting Extra Mile Day, which celebrates the power of people to create positive change in families, organizations and communities.

Farm Therapy

Efforts are underway to recruit and train veterans to work on small farms for both financial and therapeutic reasons.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags