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We all know there are several benefits to street sweeping. But did you know street sweeping also lowers crime?

On average, 1 out of 10 U.S. citizens falls victim to property crimes, such as burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft, each year. And cities around the world have taken a new approach to crime reduction.

At the end of 2009, the police department of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, conducted an experiment they called “The Neighborhood Takes Charge,” and asked their local communities what their greatest concerns were. Most requests that came in weren’t about specific crimes, like burglary or theft, but rather about improving the “walkability” of their streets. Three of the top items were:

• Reducing and enforcing speed limits.
• Cleaning up and preventing pet waste.
• And basic upkeep, like trash removal and street sweeping.

The Rotterdam police force spent a certain amount of time every week cleaning and sweeping streets. And even though many thought crimes would skyrocket from neglect, crime rates actually dropped over a two-year period.

• Burglary dropped by 22%
• Vandalism dropped by 31%
• Traffic offenses dropped by 19%
• Theft dropped by 11%
• And overall violence dropped by 8%

After this experiment, many cities around the world took notice and followed suit. New York City and London both lessened crime rates with focused clean-up, and leaders of Pine Bluff Arkansas set out to make changes in their most problematic neighborhoods. Focusing on neighborhoods that made the most police, ambulance, and fire department calls. Local police spent months cleaning, and Pine Bluff overall crime rates dropped by 30% as a result of these efforts.

Anti-crime teams all around the United States are starting to recognize the value of clean streets. When a city is clean and well-kept, it promotes an atmosphere of friendliness and honesty. While areas with accumulated trash and debris give the feeling that crime occurs there, can thereby promote crime itself.

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