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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crime Mapping

The police have always used geographical information in their fight against crime. Certain patterns of behaviour can be mapped. Do crime maps help ?

The Government plans to produce neighbourhood crime maps for everyone "by the end of 2008". This will enable people to assess their own neighbourhood.

Yesterday's CRIME HOTSPOTS programme on Radio 4, which can be listened to again via the LISTEN AGAIN feature demonstrated once again the value of GIS, and geo-spatial investigation. This moves beyond the old drawing pin on the map. It outlines the behaviours of criminals in relation to their own home area. There is also the tactic of geographic profiling.

The WEST MIDLANDS area already has a GIS in operation, which allows interrogation of crime figures and trends.
Those living in the METROPOLITAN POLICE area also have access to crime mapping.

Will Crime maps work ? - BBC News magazine feature

Interestingly putting the terms"crime geography" into Google bring up a certain well-known Geography website as the first return.
Also high up is the script for the programme on the Geography of Crime that Chris Durbin was involved in producing.

Also led me to an interesting survey on BUS SHELTER vandalism, which could form the basis for a local investigation in urban areas. (Click the link to download a PDF). This led to a useful 7 point classification of vandalism (Wilson and Healey, 1987)

To acquire money or property, for example, breaking open telephone boxes
The damage is a conscious tactic, a means to achieve some other end, such as breaking a window to be arrested and get a bed in prison
Similar to tactical vandalism, but carried out to further an explicit ideological cause or to deliver a message, for example, chalking slogans on walls
Damage in order to obtain revenge, for example, breaking school windows to settle a grudge against the head teacher
Damage in the context of a game; for example who can break the most windows of a house
An expression of rage or frustration which is often directed at symbolic middle class property. It is this type that has the vicious and apparently senseless facade which people find so difficult to understand
Damage done to property defined by youth as unimportant or of no value

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At 12:12 PM, Blogger Colin D said...

While the data is limited for our project (news reports), our map (http://spotcrime.com/uk/london) already has enough data to show some hot spots. Croydon is an example.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger GeoBlogs said...

Thanks for getting in touch Colin.
An interesting graphical representation.
This is something that school students could also carry out for their home town using the local paper (although there's always the chance that family members of someone in the class could be a victim, or criminal...)


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