Parks & Public Safety
Domestic violence incidents generate the most calls for the Billings Police Department. Abuse tends to be a learned behavior. By expanding park and recreation opportunities, our goal is to establish healthier lifestyles for children in our community and break the generational cycle of domestic violence.
The chart below comes from the Billings Police Department's 2022 annual report.
An American Journal of Public Health article titled "How Green Spaces Can Combat Gun Violence in America" highlights the intersection between green spaces and crime reduction, specifically gun-related crimes. The key findings are listed below.
- A robust systematic review found that communities with more vegetation suffer from less crime in general, and although socioeconomic factors were not accounted for, green spaces had a particularly strong impact on reducing gun violence. (Shepley et al., 2019)
- A study out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found that greening previously abandoned lots not only reduced gun violence but also produced a significant positive economic impact on the criminal justice system: greening each abandoned lot yielded about $43,000 in savings. Additionally, remediating vacant buildings in an area led to a statistically significant 39% reduction in firearm assaults. (Branas et al., 2016)
- Well-kept green spaces mitigate many of the precipitating factors leading to episodes of gun violence. Green spaces can reduce stress and improve the mental health of nearby residents. (Shepley et al., 2019; South et al., 2018)
- Green spaces are also thought to have an effect on the social fabric of a community, contributing to the “busy streets theory”, which identifies the factors that improve social cohesion in a neighborhood while also reducing violence. Civic pride, residential engagement, and activity in public are all key attributes of thriving communities. Green spaces give people a place to congregate and something to take care of. With more foot traffic comes more opportunities for members of the community to be on the watch for any illicit activity, decreasing its likelihood to occur in that area. (Aiyer et al., 2015)