Skateparks vs Crime: USA

The cities across the United States of America (USA) with the most skateparks are Chula Vista (CA), Henderson (NV) and Reno (NV). Research findings suggested that cities with a high rate of skateparks, per people, had lower rates of violence and property crimes, when compared with their state and national averages. On the other hand cities with lower rates of skateparks, per people, had higher rates of these types of crimes, also when compared to state and national averages.

America, the birthplace of skateboarding. Where better to start a research project on the social impact of skateparks?

By finding out the amount of skateparks per 100,000 people in major cities across the country, then finding the crime rates of these places and comparing them to state and national averages, would a correlation in favour of the skateparks help to suggest that skateparks are having a positive social impact across the country of the free…

The three places with the highest rate of skate parks per 100,000 people were Chula Vista, California (3.1), Henderson, Nevada (2.2), and Reno, Nevada (1.7). These figures however don’t mean a lot without a comparison to other statistics.

Using Neighbourhood Scout for crime statistics, the main point of focus is on violence and property and how many people – per 1000 – are effected annually. These figures alone cannot show the effect of skateparks on a community, they need comparison against that city’s state and then national statistics. This way, we can see if more skateparks in an area helps towards reducing crime rates. The national rates of crime for violence is 3.8, for property crime the figure is 27.3.

chulavista

Chula Vista, in terms of violent crimes, scored 2.38 (1 in 249) and for property crime, scored 21.05 (1 in 48). Compared to the national averages, violence is marginally lower but property crimes are much lower. Compared to the rest of the state, Chula has a lower figure than California’s 4.02 (1 in 420) for violence and 26.58 (1 in 38) for property crimes. These figures suggest that skateparks do have a positive social impact on it’s surrounding areas.

henderson

Henderson, in terms of violent crimes, scored 1.5 (1 in 665) and for property crime, scored 20.36 (1 in 49). In comparison, violence is under half that of the national average and property crimes are much lower. Compared to the rest of the state, Henderson has a lower figure than Nevada’s 6.03 (1 in 166) for violence and 28.38 (1 in 35) for property crimes. These figures show that even in a state with higher than national crime rates, it is possible to cut these figures somewhat.

reno

Reno, in terms of violent crimes, scored 5.17 (1 in 194) and for property crime, scored 32.50 (1 in 31). Compared to the national averages, violent and property crimes are slightly higher. Compared to the rest of the state, Reno has a slightly lower figure than Nevada’s 6.03 (1 in 166) for violence and 28.38 (1 in 35) for property crimes. These figures suggest that although coming up higher than national averages, that they are lower than the state means that it being positive in that area of the country.

So we can see that, yes, areas with higher rates of skateparks, did in fact tend to have lower than expected rates of crime. However, I’m sure you’ve been thinking throughout reading this blog post, there is insufficient research and evidence to suggest that skateparks are having a positive social impact on their surrounding areas. The first port of call would be to research more cities: There is no correct number, but the more cities researched and compared, the more accurate the findings and the stronger the argument. Secondly there is no research to suggest that the skateparks have a direct effect, only presumptions, on their social surroundings. In a future research task, a target group or questionnaire – directly created and given out to skatepark users – would be necessary to get an opinion on what the park does for the community.

To close this post, I would like to suggest that although the skateparks are not having a direct effect, I believe these areas will have other activity ‘centres’ or ‘places’ in which the young people of that area can find a sense of belonging and community, which hopefully leads them astray from the life of crime. In a country that is irrational enough to create laws against the sport, why would they not provide the right facilities to obey those laws.

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