Vacant Lots and Crime (04-25-17)

A study published in Applied Geography links well-kept vacant lots and lower crime levels.  Researchers found that “Maintaining the yards of vacant properties helps reduce crime rates in urban neighborhoods.”  Data were collected over 9 years in Flint, Michigan:   “’We’ve always had a sense that maintaining these properties helps reduce crime and the perception of crime,’ said Christina Kelly, the land bank’s [Genesee County Land Bank Authority] planning and neighborhood revitalization director. ‘So we weren’t surprised to see the research back it up.’”  Findings were also not unexpected because “Earlier studies have shown that greening and gardening programs in general are linked to less stress, depression and hopelessness for residents, as well as lower crime rates, including assaults, burglaries and robberies.”  The researchers believe that the relationship between lot condition and crime may be due to the fact that maintaining the lots “alert[s] potential criminals that residents are keeping an eye on things.”

“Well-Kept Vacant Lots Can Help Reduce Crime.”  2017.  Press release, Michigan State University,