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Fight Crime With Gardens

greening vacant lots

Story at-a-glance -

  • In U.S. cities, about 15 percent of land sits vacant or abandoned; these spaces are associated with increased crime and stress to residents, especially in low-income neighborhoods
  • Researchers “greened” abandoned lots, cleaning up trash and debris, grading the land, planting grass and trees to create a park-like setting and installing a low wooden fence around the perimeter to signal that the lot was being cared for
  • Significant benefits were reported due to the greened lots, including a significant reduction in gun violence, burglaries and nuisances, with the latter two falling by 22 percent and 30 percent respectively
  • In neighborhoods below the poverty line, the transformed lots reduced overall crime by more than 13 percent and gun violence by nearly 30 percent
  • Residents also reported significant benefits, including feeling 58 percent less fearful of going outside due to safety concerns

By Dr. Mercola

In U.S. cities, about 15 percent of land sits unused, vacant or abandoned. These spaces, which translate to an area the size of Switzerland, are associated with increased crime and stress to residents, especially in low-income neighborhoods. Plots of land with low-lying trees and shrubs, for instance, have been associated with a greater fear of crime, researchers wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), as the vegetation may hide potential attackers and illegal activity.


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