Municipal parks are often assumed to be associated with crime, but if parks do foster crime, the specific relationships are unclear. Park data were collected for a national and a city sample, recognizing four typical amenities in parks: sports, family, ornamental, and undeveloped. These four variables were regressed on eight different categories of crime for both samples. Percent male, percent aged fifteen to twenty-four, and percent white were used as control variables. Given the expected signs on the control variables, the city sample provided more likely results. In that sample, parks with sports, family, and ornamental amenities were associated with an increase in seven of the eight crimes. Undeveloped space showed no significant relationship to crime. The city sample results were used to create a framework for park development decision-makers. Considering samples of the existing literature on parks externalities and on the costs of crime to victims, the potential gains from particular park amenities are compared to the new victim costs associated with those amenities. This analysis shows sports amenities to be unfavorable, while victim costs associated with the family and ornamental amenities may be offset by gains to housing. Undeveloped space is favored in this framework.
Level of Degree
Department of Economics
First Committee Member (Chair)
Cota, Elizabeth. "Park Amenities and Crime: Do Neighborhood Parks Contribute to Crime?." (2009). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/econ_etds/36