The Effect of Trees on Crime in Portland, Oregon

  • Authors: Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Prestemon, Jeffrey P.
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Environment and Behavior 44(1):3-30

Abstract

The authors estimate the relationship between trees and three crime aggregates (all crime, violent crime, and property crime) and two individual crimes (burglary and vandalism) in Portland, Oregon. During the study period (2005-2007), 431 crimes were reported at the 2,813 single-family homes in our sample. In general, the authors find that trees in the public right of way are associated with lower crime rates. The relationship between crime and trees on a house’s lot is mixed. Smaller, view-obstructing trees are associated with increased crime, whereas larger trees are associated with reduced crime. The authors speculate that trees may reduce crime by signaling to potential criminals that a house is better cared for and, therefore, subject to more effective authority than a comparable house with fewer trees.

  • Citation: Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Prestemon, Jeffrey P. 2012. The effects of trees on crime in Portland, Oregon. Environment and Behavior 44(1):3-30.
  • Keywords: crime, trees, urban forestry, Portland, Oregon
  • Posted Date: November 14, 2012
  • Modified Date: August 4, 2015
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.