The relationship between tree canopy and crime rates across an urban-rural gradient in the greater Baltimore region.
The extent to which urban tree cover influences crime is in debate in the literature. This research took advantage of geocoded crime point data and high resolution tree canopy data to address this question in Baltimore City and County, MD, an area that includes a significant urban–rural gradient. We found that there is a strong inverse relationship between tree canopy and our index of robbery, burglary, theft and shooting. The more conservative spatially adjusted model indicated that a 10% increase in tree canopy was associated with a roughly 12% decrease in crime. When we broke down tree cover by public and private ownership for the spatial model, we found that the inverse relationship continued in both contexts, but the magnitude was 40% greater for public than for private lands. One area in Baltimore City was positively correlated for tree cover and crime. The area has an extensive interface between industrial and residential properties. It is possible that in this area a significant proportion of trees is growing in abandoned lands. (2012) Landscape and Urban Planning Volume 106, Issue 3, 15 June 2012, Pages 262–270.
In Baltimore the gods will not save you—but the trees will