Studies have shown that hospital patients make a speedier recovery when they have a exposure to living vegetation, like trees and flowers. And certainly great metropoli are made even more liveable by their extensive parks and gardens. Now it seems that plants can also deter burglars. Sort of.
Suginami, a district of Tokyo, Japan experienced over 1,700 break-ins in 2002. By 2008 this had dropped by about 80%, down to a mere 390 thefts. This dramatic change is attributed, in part, to Operation Flower, according to a Reuters report.The project, one element of a larger crime prevention scheme, came about after a neighbourhood watch team discovered that flower-lined streets had fewer burglaries.
Kiyotaka Ohyagi, a Suginami City official, said “By planting flowers facing the street, more people will be keeping an eye out while taking care of the flowers or watering them." Flower seeds were planted on side streets and in front of residents homes. The idea being that locals would take interest in tending the growth of their flowers and spend more time being observant of their surroundings. Thieves were apparently put off by such alert residents.
It should be noted that volunteer patrols and security cameras were also employed to reduce crime rates, so not all the reduction can be attributed to the power of flowers, but impressive nevertheless.
Reminds one of that study that once revealed that young kids could easily recognise 1,000 corporate logos, but struggled to identify the species of their eight local trees. I’m sure, in contrast, the residents of Suginami have a new found appreciation of plants and can name the flowers which are helping them out.
Yet again demonstrating the pluses of leaving the television and computer alone for a bit, and getting outdoors more often. All sorts of benefits can result.
Image: Tokyo Green Space It's not specifically connected to this story, but is representative of the similar streetscapes. It's actually an illustration by Miyazaki Hayao, the creator of animated feature film 'Spirited Away', who has also been active in preserving green space in Suginami.
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