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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(10), 863;

A Method for Exploring the Link between Urban Area Expansion over Time and the Opportunity for Crime in Saudi Arabia

School of Environment and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351, Australia
Ministry of Justice, Riyadh 11472, Saudi Arabia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Qihao Weng, Richard Gloaguen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 11 July 2016 / Revised: 4 October 2016 / Accepted: 14 October 2016 / Published: 19 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Societal and Economic Benefits of Earth Observation Technologies)
PDF [3229 KB, uploaded 19 October 2016]


Urban area expansion is one of the most critical types of worldwide change, and most urban areas are experiencing increased growth in population and infrastructure development. Urban change leads to many changes in the daily activities of people living within an affected area. Many studies have suggested that urbanization and crime are related. However, they focused particularly on land uses, types of land use, and urban forms, such as the physical features of neighbourhoods, roads, shopping centres, and bus stations. Understanding the correlation between urban area expansion and crime is very important for criminologists and urban planning decision-makers. In this study, we have used satellite images to measure urban expansion over a 10-year period and tested the correlations between these expansions and the number of criminal activities within these specific areas. The results show that there is a measurable relationship between urban expansion and criminal activities. Our findings support the crime opportunity theory as one possibility, which suggests that population density and crime are conceptually related. We found the correlations are stronger where there has been greater urban growth. Many other factors that may affect crime rate are not included in this paper, such as information on the spatial details of the population, city planning, economic considerations, the distance from the city centre, neighbourhood quality, and police numbers. However, this study will be of particular interest to those who aim to use remote sensing to study patterns of crime. View Full-Text
Keywords: crime; remote sensing; land use; urban; urbanization; expansion crime; remote sensing; land use; urban; urbanization; expansion

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Algahtany, M.; Kumar, L. A Method for Exploring the Link between Urban Area Expansion over Time and the Opportunity for Crime in Saudi Arabia. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 863.

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