Along with energy conservation and storm-water reduction, scientists may soon be adding crime-fighting to the list of benefits that urban trees provide. Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Southern Research Stations have published a new study that suggests that certain types of city trees may help lower property and violent crime rates.
Their study -- which is posted online in advance of its appearance in a forthcoming printed issue of the journal Environment and Behavior -- is the first to examine the effects of trees and other factors on crime occurrence in Portland, Ore.
"We wanted to find out whether trees, which provide a range of other benefits, could improve quality of life in Portland by reducing crime, and it was exciting to see that they did," said Geoffrey Donovan, research forester with the PNW Research Station who led the study. "Although a burglar alarm may deter criminals, it won't provide shade on a hot summer day, and it certainly isn't as nice to look at as a tree."
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