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The Effect of Trees on Crime in Portland, Oregon

Key Message

The authors speculate that trees may reduce crime by signaling to potential criminals that a house is better cared for and, therefore, subject to more effective authority than a comparable house with fewer trees.

Source

Donovan, Geoffrey H., Prestemon, Jeffrey P. (2010). The Effect of Trees on Crime in Portland, Oregon. Environment & Behaviour.24 (1): 3-30. doi: 10.1177/0013916510383238

Purpose

During the study period (2005-2007), 431 crimes were reported at the 2,813 single-family homes in the sample.

Evidence

Trees in the public right of way were associated with lower crime rates. The relationship between crime and trees on a house’s lot is mixed. Smaller, view-obstructing trees were associated with increased crime, whereas larger trees were associated with reduced crime. The authors speculate that trees may reduce crime by signaling to potential criminals that a house is better cared for and, therefore, subject to more effective authority than a comparable house with fewer trees.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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