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Plants & Gardens Blog

Another Reason to Green the City

We all know that city trees clean and cool the air and just make the neighborhood prettier. Now, a new study suggests they also deter crime. Using satellite images and a crime data base, researchers compared tree canopy to rates of crimes like thefts and shootings across Baltimore and found that a 10 percent increase in tree cover was correlated to a 12 percent drop in crime, even after controlling for such factors as income level and population density. A Philadelphia-based effort found a similar relationship. There, weedy, trash-strewn vacant lots are cleared, planted with trees and grass, and then mowed and maintained regularly, which has resulted in reports of safer streets from residents and a documented increase in neighborhood property values. The upshot? Incorporating well-tended trees and green space into a cityscape makes it a better place to live in a myriad of ways.

Just one more reason to join the urban greening movement by entering Greenbridge’s Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest, applying to become a Brooklyn Urban Gardener, or checking out BBG’s summer exhibit, Urban Garden.

Sarah Schmidt is a former editor of BBG's digital editorial content and the Guides for a Greener Planet handbook series.

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