Tokyo fights crime with flowers

In one district of Tokyo, crime has fallen 80 percent in six years, thanks to all the typical neighborhood crime fighting measures: neighborhood patrols, more cameras, and…planting flowers? A Tokyo district plagued with burglaries has turned to planting flowers to beautify its streets and help stamp out crime. “‘Operation Flower’ began about three years ago. ...

584967_090612_flowerpower5.jpg
584967_090612_flowerpower5.jpg

In one district of Tokyo, crime has fallen 80 percent in six years, thanks to all the typical neighborhood crime fighting measures: neighborhood patrols, more cameras, and...planting flowers?

A Tokyo district plagued with burglaries has turned to planting flowers to beautify its streets and help stamp out crime.

In one district of Tokyo, crime has fallen 80 percent in six years, thanks to all the typical neighborhood crime fighting measures: neighborhood patrols, more cameras, and…planting flowers?

A Tokyo district plagued with burglaries has turned to planting flowers to beautify its streets and help stamp out crime.

“‘Operation Flower’ began about three years ago. By planting flowers facing the street, more people will be keeping an eye out while taking care of the flowers or watering them,” said Kiyotaka Ohyagi, a Suginami City official.

“The best way to prevent crime is to have more people on the lookout.”

The explanation seems to be a page out of the “causation does equal correlation” playbook:

When a neighborhood watch group found that there were fewer burglaries in buildings on flower-lined streets, Suginami decided to kick off Operation Flower and asked volunteers to plant seeds on side streets and in front of their homes.

It’s hard to argue with the results, but surely just looking out the window once in a while could’ve done the trick just as well?

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

James Downie is an editorial researcher at FP.

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