The "broken-window" theory of fighting crime states that if a neighborhood is allowed to deteriorate to the point where broken windows are left unfixed, crime will increase because residents don't give a shit.
An offshoot of this says that doing beautification stuff such as planting small, public gardens builds pride and therefore creates a neighborhood spirit that fights back against criminals.
Does it work? Not so much in Houston, according to a new study.
Researchers from A&M and Texas State studied 11 community gardens here, and they've found that, bottom-line, they don't really do much to reduce crime rates.
"There were no crimenumber differences between the community garden areas and therandomly selected areas," the study states.
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The researchers's methods were pretty basic: They looked at crime rates in 2005, checking the areas around community gardens and then randomly selected, but roughly analogous, areas elsewhere.
Flower Power, it seems, just can't fight the crack pipe. Or whatever it is people are using out there.
The gardens are not worthless, however; the study said "interviews conducted with community garden representatives showed that community gardens appeared to have a positive influence on neighborhoods, with residents reporting neighborhood revitalization, perceived immunity from crime, and neighbors emulating gardening practices they saw at the community gardens."
Ah, "perceived immunity from criem." Almost as good as the real thing!!