Mixed-use neighborhoods can reduce crime

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Mixed-use neighborhoods combining residential and business development may help lead to lower levels of some types of violent crime, a U.S. study suggests.

Ohio State University researchers say the results were just as true in impoverished neighborhoods as they were in more affluent areas, offering one possible way of improving blighted areas, a university release reported.


But the findings have an important caveat, researchers say: In a sparsely populated neighborhood, increases in business-residential density actually lead to higher levels of violent crimes, at least in the short term.

However, after building density reaches a certain threshold, some violent crime begins to decline, they say.

"A residential neighborhood needs more than the addition of one or two businesses to see any positive impact on violent crime," Christopher Browning, lead author and professor of sociology at OSU, said.

"There needs to be a sufficient density of businesses and residences throughout the community to really see the benefits."

The findings are relevant as more U.S. cities consider mixed-used developments as a way to reinvigorate downtowns and blighted neighborhoods, Browning said.

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