Working-class Houston Suburb Tries a Beautiful Way to Fight Crime, but With an Ugly Edge

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Alief, a working-class suburb of Houston that is 71% Hispanic and black, is planting 1,200 new trees, but the objective is not just to beautify the neighborhood. Rather, the idea is that trees will fight crime. The notion that an area’s crime rate will go down if it has more trees is one of the fanciful socialist assumptions that the Biden regime and other Leftists are using to cause so much trouble in America today.


To be sure, it’s terrific that Alief will have more trees. Houston’s KTRK reported Friday that the tree-planting initiative is based on a study “published in the Journal of Public Economics,” which purported to establish that “when temperatures go up, crime does, too.” This is bad for Alief, which “averages 10 degrees hotter in the summer months than well-shaded areas of Houston.” This is because “Alief has only an 11% tree canopy, compared to the Houston average of 33%.” So if Alief cools off, the criminals will cool off. Or at least that’s the idea.

Alief resident Terry Jones explained, “If we can cool things off, give people something to do that’s outside that’s going to engage them. The commissioner has so many projects that are in the works. There’s going to be public art. We’re improving the parks.” So presumably people will frolic in the parks and enjoy the shade of the new trees rather than, say, knocking over a bank.

Barbara Quattro, the president of Alief’s Super Neighborhood council, explained, “If the place looks ugly and barren and it looks like nobody cares for it, nobody will care for it. I think that encourages crime. It encourages vandalism. Trees are a win-win for everybody. They not only look good, but they make the place look good, and people respect it more.” That’s a perfectly reasonable idea.

And there is more as well behind the idea of planting trees to fight crime. It’s a longstanding assumption on the Left that crime is a result of poverty; hence the “War on Poverty” that started in the 1960s, with the construction of the comprehensive welfare system that was supposedly meant to end that poverty. And not only does poverty cause crime, but a lack of trees is supposedly a hallmark of poverty.


No less a luminary than Alleged Vice President Kamala Harris demonstrated that she believed all this back in Nov. 2021, when she visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to hear a presentation about the space program and climate change. At one point, Harris asked, “Can you, can you measure, um, trees?” The presenter responded, “Yes!” Harris continued: “‘Cause part of that data that you are referring to, and it’s in EJ — environmental justice — that you can also track by race their averages in terms of the number of trees in the neighborhood where people live.”

Related: Racist Roads Are Killing Minorities — or Something

Harris was referring to “tree equity,” the idea that minority communities suffer disproportionately from climate change because they generally live in urban areas that get even hotter than the rest of the country does, such as Alief, and have fewer trees. Old Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda actually spends $3 billion on “tree equity,” because according to the Tree Equity Score website, trees are “critical infrastructure that every person in every neighborhood deserves.” In fact, like so many other things these days, they’re “a basic right that we must secure.” However, trees are now distributed in a racist manner: “But a map of tree cover in America’s cities is too often a map of income and race. That’s because trees often are sparse in low-income neighborhoods and some neighborhoods of color. Ensuring equitable tree cover across every neighborhood can help address social inequities so that all people can thrive.”


Planting trees in poor neighborhoods is thus more than a matter of fighting crime: it’s a move toward “equity.” But what might be the next step if Alief’s crime rate doesn’t go down even when the new trees are all planted? Back in the early days of the Soviet Union, the Communists forcibly turned the wealthy out of their homes, so that they could be divided up into apartments for The People. That was a matter of “equity,” too.

But such a thing could never happen in the United States, right? Right?


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member