Parks, Crime, and Property Prices in Baltimore
City parks are generally thought to be environmental assets that have a positive influence on nearby property prices. But does this hold true in areas with high crime rates?
We analyzed park locations, crime rates, and property prices in Baltimore to try to find a pattern in the relationship between them.
We found that there is a tipping point in crime rates that determines whether a park will have a positive or negative influence on nearby property prices. In areas where the crime rate is above the tipping point, parks have a negative influence on nearby property prices. In areas with a crime rate below the tipping point, parks have a positive influence on nearby property rates. In both cases, the more extreme the crime rate is (either extremely high or extremely low), the stronger the influence of parks on property prices.
We used four different models to analyze the data. All four models identified this trend between parks, crime rates, and property prices but each model located the crime rate tipping point in a different place. Baltimore overall has a crime rate of almost 5 times the national average (475 percent); some neighborhoods have a crime rate 8-9 times the national average (800 percent-900 percent). We found that the tipping point for the relationship between park locations and property prices was between 406 percent and 484 percent the national crime rate average, depending on which of the four models we used.
This research has a few key implications. First, parks cannot be created or rehabilitated in isolation; conditions in surrounding neighborhoods must be accounted for and addressed. Second, park managers, not-for-profit organizations, planners, police, and others need to work together to provide parks and park-related services that are an asset to the community, not a liability. Third, additional research is needed on how the type, design, and maintenance of vegetation in parks relates to both crime levels and to nearby property prices. Fourth, additional research is needed on whether or not there is a causal relationship between park locations, changes in crime rates, and changes in property prices over time.
Troy, Austin; Grove, J. Morgan. 2008. Property values, parks, and crime: A hedonic analysis in Baltimore, MD. Landscape and Urban Planning 87: pp. 233–245.
- J. Morgan Grove, Research Social Scientist, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station
- Austin Troy, Associate Professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont
Last Modified: 01/14/2011