x

Type in what your trying to find.

Garden Design

Crims don’t like a neatly trimmed hedge

Tim Entwisle

Tim Entwisle

April 8, 2013

Received wisdom (i.e. knowledge often of the most unreliable kind) is that thickets of plants provide good places for criminals to dwell and hone their craft. Well, it turns out, in Philadelphia at least, that vegetation, well maintained, can lower crime rates. Aggravated assault, robbery and burglary all drop when you clip your hedge. But first you have to grow a hedge.

Neatly trimmed hedge in Madrid, Spain

Neatly trimmed hedge in Madrid, Spain

A study out of Temple University, in Philadelphia PA, found that ‘the presence of grass, trees and shrubs is associated with lower crime rates’.

Jeremy Mennis and Mary Wolfe used satellite imagery and crime statistics – after discounting the effects of poverty, education levels and population density – to come to this conclusion. Their results are published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning but unless you want to pay $42 you’ll have to, like me, get the gist of the study from their media release on Eurekalert!.

Powis castle, Wales

Powis castle, Wales

Sissinghurst, UK

Sissinghurst, UK

Mennis and Wolfe argue that ‘well maintained greenery’ is good for social interaction and what they call ‘community supervision’ (which I assume is like Neighbourhood Watch). It also calms us down, they say. Calm people, it seems, are less likely to commit crimes.

They add that vegetation also reduces stormwater run-off and improves the quality of our lives in other ways so this crime reduction is an added bonus.

They don’t, at least in the press release or abstract, explain why the vegetation has to be well-maintained and what that really means.

Versailles, France

Versailles, France

However they do confess that theft doesn’t go down in vegetated areas. Presumably thieving criminals still find a dense thicket of plants a useful cover.

So for a safer city, but possibly fewer personal belongings, we should fill our cities with neatly pruned plants like these.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
6 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tim Entwisle
8 years ago

Thanks for that link Helen! I’m now a friend and and a fan… Great stuff.
Tim

Phileppa
Phileppa
8 years ago

Finding the picture of Powis Castle, Wales to be truly odd I checked it out on Google. I selected the third item, ‘Powis Castle, Wales’ and what a stunning excursion! There are many photos and an excellent history of this 700 year old, initially military stronghold and continuously inhabited castle; a rare survivor. Do check it out!

Tim Entwisle
8 years ago
Reply to  Phileppa

Definitely worth a visit – stunning setting and quirky garden…. Tim

Julie Thomson
8 years ago

Or ……………… crims could slip in the back door while the home/ garden owner is busily ( and noisily) distracted with trimming ….

Tim Entwisle
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie Thomson

True! I expect the owner wouldn’t mind as long as their handiwork remained intact… Tim