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District plants trees to combat crime

Saturday - 10/20/2012, 9:13am  ET

10thstreet.jpg
A canopy of trees cover a shaded sidewalk on 10th Street NW in the District. Mayor Gray says trees have a calming effect that helps reduce crime. (WTOP File)

Mark Segraves, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The District may be using trees as crime fighting tools. D.C. is planting more trees this year than in any other year in recent history.

With a shovel full of dirt, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray kicked off the planting of more than 6,000 trees across the city.

Gray says studies show more trees equal less crime.

"Somehow having trees in peoples' communities seems to have a calming effect. It brings people to a different emotional place," he says. "We want to look at our crime patterns and maybe get some trees into some of those neighborhoods where crime is the highest."

But some worry more trees will impact power lines when the weather turns bad.

John Thomas, associate director of urban forestry, says unlike 20 or 30 years ago power lines are a top concern when planting new trees.

"We pick species that are appropriate for under-wire and we pick species that are appropriate in size," Thomas says.

Residents can adopt a tree by calling 311.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)