Written by Nancy Lee, as part of her Social Marketing Sightings theme.
Sighted on: Academic Article

Social Issue: Gun Deaths & Injuries
Social Marketing Strategy: Reduce Access

In a new book on reducing deaths and injuries from gun violence I wrote about an environmental design approach to reducing gun injuries and deaths. One research study I read documented that unmaintained vacant neighborhood lots, often overgrown with high grasses and dense brush, can provide hiding spots for criminals and their guns. The good news reported in an article published by the American Journal of Community Psychology is that “community-engaged greening of vacant lots is associated with nearly a 40% reduction in assaults and total violent crime compared to vacant lots not maintained by these groups.” Greening vacant lots are often done by neighborhood groups such as a church group, Rotary club, or youth group such as Boy Scouts. Tasks include removal of trash and overgrown vegetation and replacing it with grass, trees, vegetable gardens and/or shrubs.  The volunteer groups then maintain them during the Spring and Summer Months.

  1. Heinze, et al., “Busy Streets Theory: The Effects of Community-engaged Greening on Violence” National Library of Medicine (September 2018), p.11

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