Green spaces are known to reduce stress — several studies have reported such findings. Now we can also thank green spaces for reducing crime. Researchers at Texas A&M University used color infrared aerial photography to rate the entire city of Austin, Texas, for the amount of vegetation or greenness. Vegetation included grass, trees, shrubs, groundcovers and other plants in both formal landscaping and naturally occurring vegetation. They overlaid the greenness map with crime data from the months of August and September 1995. After plotting the data, they found that 83 percent of all crimes occurred in areas with greenness values below 34 percent. The study found that crime rate was inversely proportional to the amount of greenness, i.e. the more lawns, trees and shrubs, the less crime committed. Researchers also analyzed the data to see if the severity of crime was related to the amount of greenness but did not come up with any direct relationship. Their data provides yet another reason to invest in public and private landscapes: stress reduction, crime reduction and beauty.

Source: HortTechnology 2004; 14:48-51

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