Did you know that trees are multi-taskers? They moderate rainwater runoff and attendant flood problems, reduce heating and cooling costs, increase property values and encourage people to enjoy their lives. And did you also know that trees help to reduce crime? That’s right.
Neighborhoods with trees and other plants will often bring residents outside more often to enjoy the greenery, shade, freshly filtered air and beauty of their surroundings. This effect, called “more eyes on the street” was a phrase popularized by Jan Jacobs in his book titled The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
The USDA Forest Service and the University of Vermont conducted a study in 2010 in Baltimore that concluded that “large street trees can reduce crime by signaling to a potential criminal that a neighborhood is better cared for and, therefore, a criminal is more likely to be caught.” A similar study in Chicago showed that buildings with high levels of greening and trees had 48 percent fewer property crimes and 56 percent fewer violent crimes. The presence of tall trees that are well groomed and properly cared for is a cue to criminals that owners and residents care about their property and watch over it and each other.