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Cut crime with Flower Power!

10 December 2011
Cut crime with Flower Power!

It’s official: window boxes and hanging baskets really can cut crime.
A study, called Britain in Bloom: transforming local communities, found that flower power had changes the fortunes of areas such as Nottingham and Manchester.
Over 230 community gardening groups responded to a Royal Horticultural Society survey about the annual floral challenge. Over 50 per cent of Britain in Bloom groups said they saw a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour since taking part in the competition.
And nearly 70 per cent of groups carry out litter picks while 33 per cent care for street furniture and 25 per cent remove graffiti.
RHS director-general Sue Biggs said the report proved that gardening was a “great social leveller” but also the “cohesive glue that binds and builds neighbourhoods”.
Sue said: “It reduces crime, transforming lives and enabling commerce to prosper.”
An estimated 115,000 trees, 352,000 shrubs and 21million plants and bulbs are planting by Britain in Bloom groups every year.
On average, respondents fund-raised £6,044 each to carry out their horticultural handiwork, saving local authorities around £6million a year.
One local authority estimated that from an investment of £67,000 towards its community’s Bloom campaign, it got back as much as £2.6million from work carried out by volunteers.
Upwards of 4.4million volunteer hours are given each year through Britain in Bloom. That’s the equivalent of £155million worth of labour at the national minimum wage.