Countries and regions with a lot of gun violence may want to note that the simple act of providing more green space in urban areas can reduce gun-related crime. In the USA (ranked ninth globally for gun deaths per capita) researchers have found that converting unused lots into parks has had a positive effect on peace!
A new study, published online this week in the American Journal of Epidemiology, offers some of the more promising evidence. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied a 10-year project in Philadelphia to convert vacant lots into park space. They found that gun-related assaults significantly declined in areas around the lots that had been greened. Vandalism and criminal mischief also significantly fell off.
Residents in some areas around these newly converted green spaces also reported feeling less stress and getting more exercise – presumably some of the byproducts of a neighborhood reclaiming its streets from crime.