Effects of Crime Type and Location on Park Use Behavior

Abstract

Introduction: Crime and the fear of crime can be a barrier to park use, and locations of crimes can have varied effects. Unsafe areas in or around the park, around the residence, or along the route to the park can alter park use behavior. Our study aimed to examine associations between objective measures of types and location of crimes and park use behaviors. Methods: In 2013 we surveyed a sample (N = 230) of residents in Greensboro, North Carolina, about park use, with responses matched to objective crime and spatial measures. We measured all crimes and violent crimes near home, near the closest park, and along the shortest route between home and park. By using ordered and bin-ary logistic modeling, we examined the relationships between the locations of crime and park use and duration of park visit, park rating, and never visiting parks. Additional models included distance to the closest park. Results: Increased crime in parks and near home was associated with fewer park visits. Greater violent crime in all locations was related to fewer park visits. Park ratings were lower for parks with high violent crime rates. Conclusion: Given the importance of parks as settings for outdoor recreation and physical activity, crime may have a detrimental effect on physical activity and, therefore, public health.

Publication
Preventing Chronic Disease
Scott Ogletree
Scott Ogletree
Postdoctoral Research Scholar