Still Fighting the "Trails Bring Crime" Myth


Richard Layman writes on his blog about an item that didn't make it into Western Baltimore County pedestrian and bicycle access plan - contradicting the claim that bike trails bring crime.

Basically I wrote that while it is true that some crime incidents do happen on shared use paths, statistically the number of incidents is less than in either commercial areas or residential areas abutting shared use paths.

I said the reality is that more crimes are committed in association with the use of automobiles than with bicycles, but that people do not respond by recommending that the entire street network be shut down, automobiles be banned, or that no new streets should be constructed, because the street network abets crime.

Typically, after trails are constructed and begin to be used, opposition dwindles. So why do we have to go through the contentious processes each time we try to create new trails?

He even quoted the local police chief

The theory behind the program is that by mapping crashes, police can learn which areas are most likely to have such problems and station their officers in a “highly visible” way to deter speeding and distracted driving.

The same is also done in high-crime areas, police said. One helps the other, Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said, because vehicles are often used in the commission of crimes.

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