Canopy and crime
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Canopy and Crime. A study conducted by. Frances E. Kuo. Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With funding from. The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture The USDA Forest Service

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Canopy and crime

Canopy and Crime


Canopy and crime

A study conducted by

Frances E. Kuo

Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Canopy and crime

With funding from

  • The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • The USDA Forest Service

    Urban and Community Forestry Program

    on the recommendation of the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council


Canopy and crime

Take home message


Canopy and crime

Take home message

The more vegetation outside a residence, the lower its crime rate.


Canopy and crime

Presentation outline

  • Why Study Canopy and Crime?

  • The Approach

  • The Findings

  • So What?


Canopy and crime

Why Study Canopy and Crime?


Canopy and crime

Dense woods and shrubs can conceal criminal activity.


Canopy and crime

Such dense vegetation evokes both general fear and fear of crime.


Canopy and crime

Removing greenery to deter crime is a common practice.


Canopy and crime

But is indiscriminately clearing greenery really a wise policy?


Canopy and crime

Not all vegetation blocks views.


Canopy and crime

In fact, vegetation that allows for visibility might inhibit crime.


Canopy and crime

Such green spaces might inhibit crime because they

  • bring people together outdoors


Canopy and crime

Such green spaces might inhibit crime because they

  • bring people together outdoors

  • lessen mental fatigue, irritability, and

    impulsiveness


Canopy and crime

Where would you feel safer?


Canopy and crime

Can vegetation in the common areas outside a residence actually reduce criminal activity?


Canopy and crime

The Approach


Canopy and crime

The Ida B. Wells development in Chicago was chosen as the research site because

  • buildings and amount of outdoor common

    space are similar; only vegetation quantity

    differs


Canopy and crime

The Ida B. Wells development in Chicago was chosen as the research site because

  • buildings and amount of outdoor common

    space are similar; only vegetation quantity

    differs

  • vegetation does not block views


Canopy and crime

Characteristics of the residents here were important too.

  • They are randomly assigned to these

    buildings.


Canopy and crime

Characteristics of the residents here were important too.

  • They are randomly assigned to these

    buildings.

  • They are similar in personal characteristics.


Canopy and crime

Method

  • Police reports from 98 buildings were

    collected.


Canopy and crime

Method

  • Police reports from 98 buildings were

    collected.

  • Building common areas were rated for

    quantity of vegetation.


Canopy and crime

Measuring quantity of common space vegetation

Common space with a low level of vegetation

Common space with a high level of vegetation


Canopy and crime

Method

  • Police reports from 98 buildings were

    collected.

  • Building common areas were rated for

    quantity of vegetation.

  • The relationship between quantity of

    vegetation and crime rate was analyzed.


Canopy and crime

The Findings


Canopy and crime

Buildings with more vegetation had fewer property crimes

8

7

6

# of property crimes

5

4

3

2

1

0

Low

Medium

High

Quantity of vegetation


Canopy and crime

Buildings with more vegetation had fewer violent crimes

8

7

6

# of violent crimes

5

4

3

2

1

0

Low

Medium

High

Quantity of vegetation

Canopy and Crime


Canopy and crime

Buildings with more vegetation had fewer crimes overall

8

7

6

# of crimes overall

5

4

3

2

1

0

Low

Medium

High

Quantity of vegetation


Canopy and crime

So What?


Canopy and crime

The more vegetation a building had, the fewer crimes – fewer property crimes, fewer violent crimes, and fewer crimes overall.


Canopy and crime

Common areas with high-canopy trees and grass:

  • are gathering spaces for neighbors


Canopy and crime

Common areas with high-canopy trees and grass:

  • are gathering spaces for neighbors

  • can foster states of mind that are less prone to

    violence


Canopy and crime

Not only does vegetation make neighborhoods more attractive, it may make them safer!


Canopy and crime

To improve the quality of life for the many people who live in poor urban neighborhoods…


Canopy and crime

We must work together–planting, protecting, and maintaining urban vegetation.


Canopy and crime

Suggestions for urban property owners, planners, policy makers, and developers:

  • think twice before removing trees or

    vegetation for security reasons


Canopy and crime

Suggestions for urban property owners, planners, policy makers, and developers:

  • think twice before removing trees or

    vegetation for security reasons

  • landscape buildings with vegetation that does

    not block views


Canopy and crime

Suggestions for urban property owners, planners, policy makers, and developers:

  • think twice before removing trees or

    vegetation for security reasons

  • landscape buildings with vegetation that does

    not block views

  • maintain vegetation to preserve visibility


Support tree planting and tree care efforts in the inner city

Support tree planting and tree care efforts in the inner city.


In harsh environments a little green can go a long way

In harsh environments, a little green can go a long way.


Canopy and crime

Caring for trees means caring for people!


Canopy and crime

To share this information with others:

• Copies of this presentation and other, written materials for nonscientific audiences may be obtained at <www.lhhl.uiuc.edu>

• To quote this information in print, please consult the original scientific journal article:

Kuo, F.E., & Sullivan, W.C. (2001). Environment and crime in the inner city: Does vegetation reduce crime? Environment & Behavior, 33, 343-367.

Available at www.lhhl.uiuc.edu


Canopy and crime

To learn more:

On details of the original study

Kuo, F.E., Sullivan, W.C. (2001). Environment and crime in the inner city: Does vegetation reduce crime? Environment & Behavior, 33, 343-367.

On problems with dense vegetation

Fisher, B.S., Nasar, J.L. (1992). Fear of crime in relation to three exterior site features: Prospect, refuge, and escape. Environment & Behavior, 24, 35-65.

Michael, S.N., Hull, R.B. (1994). Effects of vegetation on crime in urban parks. Blacksburg: Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Department of Forestry.

Schroeder, H.W., Anderson, L.M. (1984). Perception of personal safety in urban recreation sites. Journal of Leisure Research, 16, 178-194.

Talbot, J., Kaplan, R. (1984). Needs and fears: the response to trees and nature in the inner city. Journal of Arboriculture, 10, 222-228.


Canopy and crime

To learn more:

On tree removal policies to decrease crime

Pluncknett, T.F.T. (1960). Edward I and criminal law. Cambridge University Press.

Weisel, D.L., Gouvis, C., Harrell, A.V. (1994). Addressing community decay and crime: Alternative approaches and explanations. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

On vegetation and decreased incivilities

Brunson, L.B., Kuo, F.E., Sullivan, W.C. (2001). Resident appropriation of defensible space in public housing: Implications for safety and community. Environment & Behavior, 33, 626-652.

Stamen, T. (1993). Graffiti deterrent proposed by horticulturalist [press release]. Riverside: University of California, Riverside.


Canopy and crime

To learn more:

On vegetation and increased surveillance

Coley, R.L., Kuo, F.E., Sullivan, W.C. (1997). Where does community grow? The social context created by nature in urban public housing. Environment & Behavior, 29, 468-492.

Kuo, F.E., Sullivan, W.C., Coley, R.L., Brunson, L. (1998). Fertile ground for community: Inner-city neighborhood common spaces. American Journal of Community Psychology, 26, 823-851.

On mental fatigue and violence

Kaplan, S. (1987). Mental fatigue and the designed environment. In J. Harvey & D. Henning (Eds.), Public environments (pp. 55-60). Washington, DC: Environmental Design Research Association.

Kuo, F.E., & Sullivan, W.C. (2001). Aggression and violence in the inner city: Impacts of environment via mental fatigue. Environment & Behavior, 33, 543-571.


Canopy and crime

To learn more:

On vegetation and mental fatigue

Cimprich, B. (1993). Development of an intervention to restore attention in cancer patients. Cancer Nursing, 16, 83-92.

Hartig, T., Mang, M., Evans, G.W. (1991). Restorative effects of natural environment experiences. Environment & Behavior, 23, 3-26.

Kaplan, R. (1984). Wilderness perception and psychological benefits: An analysis of a continuing program. Leisure Sciences, 6, 271-290.

Lohr, V.I., Pearson-Mimms, C.H., Goodwin, G.K. (1996). Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment. Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 14, 97-100.

Miles, I., Sullivan, W.C., Kuo, F.E. (1998). Prairie restoration volunteers: The benefits of participation. Urban Ecosystems, 2, 27-41.

Tennessen, C., Cimprich, B. (1995). Views to nature: Effects on attention: Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15, 77-85.


Canopy and crime

Other questions?

Contact Frances E. Kuo, Ph.D. ([email protected])

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Landscape and Human Health Laboratory

1103 S. Dorner Drive, MC-636

Urbana IL 61801


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