Researchers have found that leafier places in the City of Baltimore and in Baltimore County tend to have lower crime rates than those with few or no trees, The Baltimore Sun reports.
A 10 percent increase in leaf canopy is associated with 12 percent less crime, according to a study underwritten by the US Forest Service and the National Science Foundation. J. Morgan Grove, a Forest Service social ecologist who was one of the studys three authors, said the findings could be important for a city like Baltimore, where trees cover only 27 percentof the land, and where some neighbors are relatively barren.
A skeptic might argue that crimes are naturally less prevalent in areas with many trees because more affluent people—who are unlikely to be out burglarizing or mugging people—are able to afford neighborhoods that have appealing landscapes. But the Sun article suggests that tree cover might bring more people outdoors, because a leafy environment is cooler and more refreshing. The presence of residents outdoors may end up putting more eyes on the streets.
Troublemakers may also see a block with healthy trees as a more tight-knit area, and thus be less likely to target it for criminal activity.
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