Big Walls around Vacant Lots Prevent Crime
It seems that erecting walls or even a simple fence around abandoned urban lots can significantly help reduce crime. These lots turn out to be the gathering places of criminals which use them to sell narcotics and firearms. The wall signals potential criminals that the area belongs to someone and thus they cannot use it for their own needs.
It appears there are plenty of vacant areas in industrial cities – such as Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland – as a result of population decline after the economic crisis of 2008. In Chicago alone, there are more than 13,000 vacant lots which are owned by no one. The situation is especially severe in New Orleans. The destruction caused by the 2005 Hurricane Katrina left many areas in the city deserted.
City authorities have realized that besides crime, vacant areas lower the value of nearby real estate and so effort is made to create a sense (even if it is a false one) that the territory has an owner.
Some cities have even gone further by turning vacant areas into green recreation sites with lawns. In Cincinnati, Ohio – the city cleaned more than 1,200 lots last year alone. Other cities have even hired private contractors to handle the problem of vacant lands and states have allocated millions of dollars for this project.
There are clear findings that attest to the beneficial effect of walls encircling vacant lots. In Pennsylvania, gun violence went lower by 5 per cent. Installing windows and doors in houses which are abandoned made gun violence decrease by close to 40 percent.
The residents are highly satisfied. They feel that for the first time their government is adopting actual measures to combat crime with no need for police intervention and the use of force.