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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Vegetation May Cut Crime in the Inner City
In a 2001 study in one Chicago public housing development, there were dramatically fewer occurrences of crime against both people and property in apartment buildings surrounded by trees and greenery than in nearby identical apartments that were surrounded by barren land. In fact, compared with buildings that had little or no vegetation, buildings with high levels of greenery had 48 percent fewer property crimes and 56 percent fewer violent crimes. Even modest amounts of greenery were associated with lower crime rates. The greener the surroundings, the fewer the number of crimes that occurred.
Greenery lowers crime through several mechanisms. First, greenery helps people to relax and renew, reducing aggression. Second, green spaces bring people together outdoors, increasing surveillance and discouraging criminals. Relatedly, the green and groomed appearance of an apartment building is a cue to criminals that owners and residents care about a property and watch over it and each other.
The information here is from the original scientific article:
Kuo, F.E., & Sullivan, W.C. (2001). “Environment and crime in the inner city: Does vegetation reduce crime?” Environment and Behavior, 33(3), 343-367.
For more information:
More questions? Contact Frances E. Kuo (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Landscape and Human Health Laboratory, 1101 W. Peabody Drive, Urbana, Illinois 61801.
This research was supported by the University of Illinois and by the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program on the recommendation of the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council.