Last year, we pointed to research in Baltimore City and County linking tree canopy with reductions in crime.
Now, the journal Landscape and Urban Planning and Temple University have released similar findings for Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Both studies cut against the conventional wisdom in a sense, as many intuit that shade from urban trees makes crime harder to detect.
Says Jeremy Mennis, associate professor of geography and urban studies at Temple: “There is a longstanding principle, particularly in urban planning, that you don’t want a high level of vegetation, because it abets crime by either shielding the criminal activity or allowing the criminal to escape.”
But in both cases, the findings indicated the increased presence of grass, trees and shrubs correlated with lower levels of robberies and assaults, along with other violent and property crimes.
The Temple study established controls for other factors linked to crime, including poverty rates, educational attainment and population density.
Adds Mennis: it may not be the greenery itself as much as the increased social interaction and public supervision that deflects criminal activity.
Increased community pride and connectivity join a long list of already ample urban forestry benefits.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.