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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Perceptions of Crime and its Impacts on the Use of Urban Parks by Latino Residents

Reactions to fear of crime and their relationships to recreation behavior. Paul Gobster, Forest ServiceSnapshot : NRS scientist Paul Gobster examined how the perceptions of Latino residents in two inner-city Chicago neighborhoods affected their use of outdoor recreation environments and how they responded.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Paul H. Gobster 
Research Location : Chicago, Ill.
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 203

Summary

Perceived safety has long been known to play an important role in people's use of urban parks, but little is known about how the everyday leisure behavior of neighborhood residents is altered by the presence of gang activity. NRS scientist Paul Gobster examined how the perceptions of Latino residents in two inner-city Chicago neighborhoods affected their use of outdoor recreation environments and how they responded. Residents reported a near-constant gang presence in and around the neighborhood parks studied, and drug-related activity made it particularly unsafe for residents and their children to access and use parks. Residents employed a number of strategies to cope with gang problems, including avoiding parks and neighborhood locations or altering their times of use, adopting protective behaviors such as using parks in large groups and/or under the presence of police, and devising collective behaviors such as organizing neighborhood crime watch programs, park clean-up activities, and supervised youth programs. Understanding these strategies is particularly important in inner-city and low-income communities where park space is often already at a minimum and residents have limited alternatives.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • University of Illinois at Urbana--Champaign

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Outdoor Recreation
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