Security Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 1–24 | Cite as

The role of neighborhood parks as crime generators

  • Elizabeth GroffEmail author
  • Eric S McCord
Original Article


Neighborhood parks in urban areas have long been seen as contested spaces. Because they are publically owned, they are at the same time everyone's and no one's. As public resources they have little intrinsic guardianship and thus are susceptible to being taken over for undesirable activities (that is, living spaces for the homeless, markets for drug dealers and delinquent behavior magnets for juveniles). While much has been written about parks and crime, little research exists which empirically examines the topic. The current research examines neighborhood parks in Philadelphia, PA as they relate to crime and disorder that occurs outdoors. We use primary data collection to quantify the number of potential activity generators (recreation centers, pools, playground, night lighting, and so on) and other park characteristics. Land use on adjacent streets is also collected. Our analysis finds that neighborhood parks are associated with increased levels of crime in the surrounding area. However, specific characteristics of parks are associated with lower crime levels.


parks proximity crime generators land use crime 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeTemple University, 550 Gladfelter HallPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Justice AdministrationUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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