There is no evidence that rail trails increase crime. Numerous studies have shown that rail trails do not make any measurable difference in public safety. A 2021 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation states, “[I]n general, trails are unlikely to experience security and safety issues significantly different from the surrounding area.”
In fact, trails often reduce the opportunity for crime, compared to a vacant rail corridor. When you legitimize the use of the corridor, illegitimate use decreases.
A 2021 article on the local impacts of the Swamp Rabbit Trail confirms that most incidents along that trail are minor. The article quotes police officer, Mike Jenkins: “Generally, what you see are people who are out walking, bicycling, jogging, pushing strollers and sight-seeing. My question to you is whether they would be more likely to increase crime or deter it... You have witnesses and reporters everywhere.”