Community Greening Can Reduce Crime
Vacant land poses significant challenges to safety within communities. In 2010, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation initiated a “Lots of Green” program to reuse vacant land. The program took two forms: a cleaning and greening “stabilization” treatment and a “community reuse” treatment mostly involving community gardens. A Forest Service scientist at the Philadelphia Urban Field Station and collaborators evaluated associations between the two types of vacant lot treatments and crime. They found consistent significant reductions in burglaries around stabilization lots, and in assaults around community reuse lots, with no evidence of displacement of crimes to surrounding areas. Significant increases in motor vehicle thefts around both lot types were also found after they had been greened. Community-initiated vacant lot greening may have a greater impact on reducing more serious, violent crimes.
Forest Service Partners