Effects of greening and community reuse of vacant lots on crime

Michelle Kondo, Bernadette Hohl, Seung Hoon Han, Charles Branas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation initiated a ‘Lots of Green’ programme to reuse vacant land in 2010. We performed a difference-in-differences analysis of the effects of this programme on crime in and around newly treated lots, in comparison to crimes in and around randomly selected and matched, untreated vacant lot controls. The effects of two types of vacant lot treatments on crime were tested: a cleaning and greening ‘stabilisation’ treatment and a ‘community reuse’ treatment mostly involving community gardens. The combined effects of both types of vacant lot treatments were also tested. After adjustment for various sociodemographic factors, linear and Poisson regression models demonstrated statistically significant reductions in all crime classes for at least one lot treatment type. Regression models adjusted for spatial autocorrelation found the most consistent significant reductions in burglaries around stabilisation lots, and in assaults around community reuse lots. Spill-over crime reduction effects were found in contiguous areas around newly treated lots. Significant increases in motor vehicle thefts around both types of lots were also found after they had been greened. Community-initiated vacant lot greening may have a greater impact on reducing more serious, violent crimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3279-3295
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


  • community gardens
  • crime
  • difference-in-differences
  • greening
  • urban health


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