Maintaining green parks and gardens in cities has the potential to lower the risk of crime, research suggests

city park
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

More green space in a city is linked with lower risk of crime against property—such as burglary, arson and vandalism—and less risk of violent offenses, as found by a study recently published in Cities.

Researchers analyzed data from 301 cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000.

The link between green space and lower property risk was found in 300 of the cities—Cape Coral in Florida was the exception—and in all but three cities—Chicago, Detriot and Newark—for violent crime risk.

Importantly, this was the case even when accounting for other factors linked to crime such as demographics and poverty.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, North Carolina State University and Clemson University, in the United States used data from the United States Census Bureau.

They used a known as multilevel modeling to investigate and predict the relationship between crime risk and using data collected from approximately 60,000 neighborhood units.

The researchers combined the with a number of other datasets including crime risk and the FBI's Crime and Law Enforcement statistics. The researchers also considered data relating to household income disadvantage.

The study found the strongest positive predictor of violent crime risk was social disadvantage, in line with many studies on the causes of crime. Green space was a consistent predictor of reduced violent and property crime risk.

Researchers say although it is uncertain how exactly green space influences crime, the findings add more evidence to the benefits of having green space in .

"The findings suggest that green space may contribute to lower crime risk in neighborhoods. This is in addition to many other benefits linked to greener cities. Green space may help reduce precursors of crime, like aggression and stress, through restoration and these findings point to the value of considering the design and location of to improve quality of life for residents," says Dr. Scott Ogletree, a member of OPENspace Research Center, Edinburgh's College of Art.

More information: S. Scott Ogletree et al, Urban greenspace linked to lower crime risk across 301 major U.S. cities, Cities (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2022.103949

Citation: Maintaining green parks and gardens in cities has the potential to lower the risk of crime, research suggests (2022, October 11) retrieved 29 May 2024 from
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