Walkable communities see reduction in street crime

Walkable communities see reduction in street crime

Everyone knows that walking is good for your health, not to mention your wallet with the price of gas these days. But did you know that walking can also reduce crime?

In neighbourhoods where people walk to work, school and stores instead of driving, the crime rate actually drops. "When there are more people walking around during the day and evening, they keep an eye on their neighbours' homes as well as local shops and parks, which makes these areas less attractive to thieves and vandals," explains [insert full name of program coordinator, job title and place of work] and local coordinator of the iCANwalk program. "A lower crime rate is just one of the many benefits of living in a walkable community."

iCANwalk is a coalition of various partners, including [insert name of local organization], that supports the development of walkable communities to improve the health of people, the environment and the economy.

Although walkable communities reduce crime, studies show that one of the biggest reasons why more people don't walk is because they feel their neighbourhoods aren't safe. "Lots of people don't like to walk to work or just for fun because of heavy traffic, crumbling sidewalks or a lack of streetlights," says [insert contact's surname].

As well, in the past 50 years, urban planning has gone from being focused on people to focused on cars. For example, new roads are built with wider driving, passing and turning lanes, which make it easier for cars to travel at faster speeds. But those changes also make it harder for people, especially kids, to cross streets safely.

There are lots of ways to make your community a safer, more walkable place. For starters, you could walk or cycle someplace you'd normally drive. On your way, fill out an iCANwalk checklist about where you went, how easy it was and what you saw along the way.

You can also sign the International Charter for Walking and pledge to walk more and take steps to make your community safer for walking. Write or talk to your elected officials about why you think building walkable communities is important.