Why Trees?

Trees have a powerful impact on air quality, climate change, energy conservation, water quality, economy, comfort, habitat, and public health.

Canopy and Crime

Vegetation May Cut Inner City Crime

A study of a Chicago public housing development by University of Illinois researchers Frances E. Kuo and William C. Sullivan has found that apartment buildings surrounded by trees and greenery are dramatically safer than buildings devoid of green. The greener the surroundings, the fewer crimes occur against people and property.

Compared with apartment buildings that had little or no vegetation, buildings with high levels of greenery had 52 percent fewer total crimes, including 48 percent fewer property crimes and 56 percent fewer violent crimes. Even modest amounts of greenery were associated with lower crime rates. Several factors combine to explain why this is so.

Greenery helps people to relax and renew, reducing aggression. Green spaces bring people together outdoors. Their presence increases surveillance and discourages criminals. The green and groomed appearance of an apartment building is a cue that owners and residents care about a property, and watch over it and each other.

The information in this bulletin is from “Environment and Crime in the Inner City: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime?” Environment and Behavior. Vol. 33 No. 3, May 2001.

© Copyright 2001 Sage Publications, Inc.