Special Issue "Geographic Crime Analysis"

A special issue of ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information (ISSN 2220-9964).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 15313

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Spencer Chainey
E-Mail Website
Chief Guest Editor
University College London Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, 35 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ, UK
Interests: crime analysis; problem-oriented policing; hot spot policing; intelligence-led policing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Matt Ashby
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
University College London Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, 35 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ, UK
Interests: crime analysis; crime concentration; crime prevention; crime on public transport
Dr. Patricio Estevez-Soto
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
University College London Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, 35 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ, UK
Interests: hot spots policing; crime in Latin America and the Caribbean; Problem Oriented Policing; situational prevention of organised crime
Ms. Sophie Curtis-Ham
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences & NZ Institute of Security and Crime Science, University of Waikato, Knighton Road, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
Interests: geographic crime analysis; geographic offender profiling; behavioural offender profiling; environmental criminology; investigative psychology; evidence based policing; crime harm
Mr. José Luis Hernandez
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
University College London Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, 35 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ, UK
Interests: hot spots policing; spatio-temporal analysis; crime scripts of criminal groups; networks of criminal groups; geographic intelligence; situational prevention

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Crime has an inherent geographic quality. For a crime to occur, it has to happen at some place, at some time. Analyzing the geography of crime is vital for developing our understanding of crime.

This Special Issue will provide contemporary research on geographic crime analysis. We are seeking contributions that advance existing techniques or introduces new techniques for better understanding the geography of crime. Papers should be original research manuscripts that meet with the journal's research articles requirements. Topics the Special Issue on Geographic Crime Analysis we anticipate will include are:

  • Crime concentration and hot spot analysis
  • Spatial-temporal analysis
  • Repeat and near-repeat victimization
  • Risky facilities
  • Persistent, emerging and dispersed spatial patterns of crime
  • Geographic offender profiling (for criminal investigations)
  • Spatial regression analysis
  • Mapping and analyzing risk (including forecasting and prediction)
  • Crime harm mapping
  • Impact evaluation techniques
  • Simulation of crime patterns (and testing “what if“ scenarios)

Papers submitted for consideration must identify which of these topics the paper addresses by listing one (or more) of these topics in the key words associated with the manuscript

 

Guest Editors

Dr. Spencer Chainey

Dr. Matt Ashby

Dr. Patricio Estevez-Soto

Sophie Curtis-Ham

José Luis Hernandez


 

Keywords

  • geographic crime analysis
  • spatial and Spatio-temporal analysis techniques
  • geographic offender profiling
  • spatial and Spatio-temporal patterns of crime

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
All Burglaries Are Not the Same: Predicting Near-Repeat Burglaries in Cities Using Modus Operandi
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2022, 11(3), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11030160 - 23 Feb 2022
Viewed by 952
Abstract
The evidence that burglaries cluster spatio-temporally is strong. However, research is unclear on whether clustered burglaries (repeats/near-repeats) should be treated as qualitatively different crimes compared to spatio-temporally unrelated burglaries (non-repeats). This study, therefore, investigated if there were differences in modus operandi-signatures (MOs, the [...] Read more.
The evidence that burglaries cluster spatio-temporally is strong. However, research is unclear on whether clustered burglaries (repeats/near-repeats) should be treated as qualitatively different crimes compared to spatio-temporally unrelated burglaries (non-repeats). This study, therefore, investigated if there were differences in modus operandi-signatures (MOs, the habits and methods employed by criminals) between near-repeat and non-repeat burglaries across 10 Swedish cities, as well as whether MO-signatures can aid in predicting if a burglary is classified as a near-repeat or a non-repeat crime. Data consisted of 5744 residential burglaries, with 137 MO features characterizing each case. Descriptive data of repeats/non-repeats is provided together with Wilcoxon tests of MO-differences between crime pairs, while logistic regressions were used to train models to predict if a crime scene was classified as a near-repeat or a non-repeat crime. Near-repeat crimes were rather stylized, showing heterogeneity in MOs across cities, but showing homogeneity within cities at the same time, as there were significant differences between near-repeat and non-repeat burglaries, including subgroups of features, such as differences in mode of entering, target selection, types of goods stolen, as well the traces that were left at the crime scene. Furthermore, using logistic regression models, it was possible to predict near-repeat and non-repeat crimes with a mean F1-score of 0.8155 (0.0866) based on the MO. Potential policy implications are discussed in terms of how data-driven procedures can facilitate analysis of spatio-temporal phenomena based on the MO-signatures of offenders, as well as how law enforcement agencies can provide differentiated advice and response when there is suspicion that a crime is part of a series as opposed to an isolated event. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
A Multi-Level Analysis of Risky Streets and Neighbourhoods for Dissident Republican Violence in Belfast
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(11), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10110765 - 11 Nov 2021
Viewed by 652
Abstract
This paper uses graph theoretical measures to analyse the relationship between street network usage, as well as other street- and area-level factors, and dissident Republican violence in Belfast. A multi-level statistical model is used. Specifically, we employ an observation-level random-effects (OLRE) Poisson regression [...] Read more.
This paper uses graph theoretical measures to analyse the relationship between street network usage, as well as other street- and area-level factors, and dissident Republican violence in Belfast. A multi-level statistical model is used. Specifically, we employ an observation-level random-effects (OLRE) Poisson regression and use variables at the street and area levels. Street- and area-level characteristics simultaneously influence where violent incidents occur. For every 10% change in the betweenness value of a street segment, the segment is expected to experience 1.32 times as many incidents. Police stations (IRR: 22.05), protestant churches (IRR: 6.19) and commercial premises (IRR: 1.44) on each street segment were also all found to significantly increase the expected number of attacks. At the small-area level, for every 10% change in the number of Catholic residents, the number of incidents is expected to be 4.45 times as many. The results indicate that along with other factors, the street network plays a role in shaping terrorist target selection. Streets that are more connected and more likely to be traversed will experience more incidents than those that are not. This has important practical implications for the policing of political violence in Northern Ireland generally and for shaping specific targeted interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
Spatial Modeling and Analysis of the Determinants of Property Crime in Portugal
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(11), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10110731 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 951
Abstract
Many researchers have unraveled innovative ways of examining geographic information to better understand the determinants of crime, thus contributing to an improved understanding of the phenomenon. Property crimes represent more than half of the crimes reported in Portugal. This study investigates the spatial [...] Read more.
Many researchers have unraveled innovative ways of examining geographic information to better understand the determinants of crime, thus contributing to an improved understanding of the phenomenon. Property crimes represent more than half of the crimes reported in Portugal. This study investigates the spatial distribution of crimes against property in mainland Portugal with the primary goal of determining which demographic and socioeconomic factors may be associated with crime incidence in each municipality. For this purpose, Geographic Information System (GIS) tools were used to analyze spatial patterns, and different Poisson-based regression models were investigated, namely global models, local Geographically Weighted Poisson Regression (GWPR) models, and semi-parametric GWPR models. The GWPR model with eight independent variables outperformed the others. Its independent variables were the young resident population, retention and dropout rates in basic education, gross enrollment rate, conventional dwellings, Guaranteed Minimum Income and Social Integration Benefit, purchasing power per capita, unemployment rate, and foreign population. The model presents a better fit in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto and their neighboring municipalities. The association of each independent variable with crime varies significantly across municipalities. Consequently, these particularities should be considered in the design of policies to reduce the rate of property crimes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
Crime Prevention Based on the Strategic Mapping of Living Conditions
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(11), 719; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10110719 - 25 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1645
Abstract
This paper presents a theoretically and methodologically grounded GIS-based model for the measurement and mapping of an index of living conditions in urban residential areas across Sweden. Further, the model is compared and evaluated using the Swedish Police’s assessment of crime-exposed areas. The [...] Read more.
This paper presents a theoretically and methodologically grounded GIS-based model for the measurement and mapping of an index of living conditions in urban residential areas across Sweden. Further, the model is compared and evaluated using the Swedish Police’s assessment of crime-exposed areas. The results indicate that the geographically measured vulnerable living conditions overlap to a large extent with the areas assessed to be crime-exposed by the Swedish Police. Over 61% of the police-defined crime-exposed areas are characterized by vulnerable living conditions. The results also show that this overlap is not perfect and that there are vulnerable areas that are not included in the police’s assessment of crime-exposed areas, but which are nonetheless characterized by vulnerable living conditions that could negatively affect the development of crime. It is also proposed that the model and the mapped index of living conditions can provide a more well-grounded scientific basis for the police’s assessment work. As a first step, the Swedish police have implemented the model and the mapped index in the work process employed in their annual identification of crime-exposed or at-risk areas. In addition to assisting the police, the model and the mapped index could also be used to support other societal actors working with vulnerable areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
Considerations for Developing Predictive Spatial Models of Crime and New Methods for Measuring Their Accuracy
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(9), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10090597 - 10 Sep 2021
Viewed by 901
Abstract
A literature review of the important trends in predictive crime modeling and the existing measures of accuracy was undertaken. It highlighted the need for a robust, comprehensive and independent evaluation and the need to include complementary measures for a more complete assessment. We [...] Read more.
A literature review of the important trends in predictive crime modeling and the existing measures of accuracy was undertaken. It highlighted the need for a robust, comprehensive and independent evaluation and the need to include complementary measures for a more complete assessment. We develop a new measure called the penalized predictive accuracy index (PPAI), propose the use of the expected utility function to combine multiple measures and the use of the average logarithmic score, which measures accuracy differently than existing measures. The measures are illustrated using hypothetical examples. We illustrate how PPAI could identify the best model for a given problem, as well as how the expected utility measure can be used to combine different measures in a way that is the most appropriate for the problem at hand. It is important to develop measures that empower the practitioner with the ability to input the choices and preferences that are most appropriate for the problem at hand and to combine multiple measures. The measures proposed here go some way towards providing this ability. Further development along these lines is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
Article
Improving the Creation of Hot Spot Policing Patrol Routes: Comparing Cognitive Heuristic Performance to an Automated Spatial Computation Approach
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(8), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10080560 - 18 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1577
Abstract
Hot spot policing involves the deployment of police patrols to places where high levels of crime have previously concentrated. The creation of patrol routes in these hot spots is mainly a manual process that involves using the results from an analysis of spatial [...] Read more.
Hot spot policing involves the deployment of police patrols to places where high levels of crime have previously concentrated. The creation of patrol routes in these hot spots is mainly a manual process that involves using the results from an analysis of spatial patterns of crime to identify the areas and draw the routes that police officers are required to patrol. In this article we introduce a computational approach for automating the creation of hot spot policing patrol routes. The computational techniques we introduce created patrol routes that covered areas of higher levels of crime than an equivalent manual approach for creating hot spot policing patrol routes, and were more efficient in how they covered crime hot spots. Although the evidence on hot spot policing interventions shows they are effective in decreasing crime, the findings from the current research suggest that the impact of these interventions can potentially be greater when using the computational approaches that we introduce for creating hot spot policing patrol routes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
Spatial Analysis of Gunshot Reports on Twitter in Mexico City
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(8), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10080540 - 12 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1776
Abstract
The quarantine and stay-at-home measures implemented by most governments significantly impacted the volume and distribution of crime, and already, a body of literature exists that focuses on the effects of lockdown on crime. However, the effects of lockdown on firearm violence have yet [...] Read more.
The quarantine and stay-at-home measures implemented by most governments significantly impacted the volume and distribution of crime, and already, a body of literature exists that focuses on the effects of lockdown on crime. However, the effects of lockdown on firearm violence have yet to be studied. Within this context, this study analyzes reports of gunshots in Mexico City registered on Twitter from October 2018 to 2019 (pre-COVID-19) and from October 2019 to 2020 (during COVID-19), using a combination of spatial (nearest neighbor ratio, Ripley’s K function and kernel estimation) and non-spatial (Fisher’s exact test) methods. The results indicate a spatial concentration of gunshot reports in Mexico City and a reduction in frequency of reports during the pandemic. While they show no change in the overall concentration of gunshots during lockdown, they do indicate an expansion in the patterns of spatial intensity (moving from the west to the center of the city). One possible explanation is the capacity of possible victims of firearm crimes in certain municipalities to comply with lockdown measures and thus avoid exposure to such crimes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
Do Mobile Phone Data Provide a Better Denominator in Crime Rates and Improve Spatiotemporal Predictions of Crime?
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(6), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10060369 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1663
Abstract
This article assesses whether ambient population is a more suitable population-at-risk measure for crime types with mobile targets than residential population for the purpose of intelligence-led policing applications. Specifically, the potential use of ambient population as a crime rate denominator and predictor for [...] Read more.
This article assesses whether ambient population is a more suitable population-at-risk measure for crime types with mobile targets than residential population for the purpose of intelligence-led policing applications. Specifically, the potential use of ambient population as a crime rate denominator and predictor for predictive policing models is evaluated, using mobile phone data (with a total of 9,397,473 data points) as a proxy. The results show that ambient population correlates more strongly with crime than residential population. Crime rates based on ambient population designate different problem areas than crime rates based on residential population. The prediction performance of predictive policing models can be improved by using ambient population instead of residential population. These findings support that ambient population is a more suitable population-at-risk measure, as it better reflects the underlying dynamics in spatiotemporal crime trends. Its use has therefore much as-of-yet unused potential not only for criminal research and theory testing, but also for intelligence-led policy and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
Improving Victimization Risk Estimation: A Geographically Weighted Regression Approach
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(6), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10060364 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 1113
Abstract
Standardized crime rates (e.g., “homicides per 100,000 people”) are commonly used in crime analysis as indicators of victimization risk but are prone to several issues that can lead to bias and error. In this study, a more robust approach (GWRisk) is proposed for [...] Read more.
Standardized crime rates (e.g., “homicides per 100,000 people”) are commonly used in crime analysis as indicators of victimization risk but are prone to several issues that can lead to bias and error. In this study, a more robust approach (GWRisk) is proposed for tackling the problem of estimating victimization risk. After formally defining victimization risk and modeling its sources of uncertainty, a new method is presented: GWRisk uses geographically weighted regression to model the relation between crime counts and population size, and the geographically varying coefficient generated can be interpreted as the victimization risk. A simulation study shows how GWRisk outperforms naïve standardization and Empirical Bayesian Estimators in estimating risk. In addition, to illustrate its use, GWRisk is applied to the case of residential burglaries in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This new approach allows more robust estimates of victimization risk than other traditional methods. Spurious spikes of victimization risk, commonly found in areas with small populations when other methods are used, are filtered out by GWRisk. Finally, GWRisk allows separating a reference population into segments (e.g., houses, apartments), estimating the risk for each segment even if crime counts were not provided per segment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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Article
A National Examination of the Spatial Extent and Similarity of Offenders’ Activity Spaces Using Police Data
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10020047 - 23 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2096
Abstract
It is well established that offenders’ routine activity locations (nodes) shape their crime locations, but research examining the geography of offenders’ routine activity spaces has to date largely been limited to a few core nodes such as homes and prior offense locations, and [...] Read more.
It is well established that offenders’ routine activity locations (nodes) shape their crime locations, but research examining the geography of offenders’ routine activity spaces has to date largely been limited to a few core nodes such as homes and prior offense locations, and to small study areas. This paper explores the utility of police data to provide novel insights into the spatial extent of, and overlap between, individual offenders’ activity spaces. It includes a wider set of activity nodes (including relatives’ homes, schools, and non-crime incidents) and broadens the geographical scale to a national level, by comparison to previous studies. Using a police dataset including n = 60,229 burglary, robbery, and extra-familial sex offenders in New Zealand, a wide range of activity nodes were present for most burglary and robbery offenders, but fewer for sex offenders, reflecting sparser histories of police contact. In a novel test of the criminal profiling assumptions of homology and differentiation in a spatial context, we find that those who offend in nearby locations tend to share more activity space than those who offend further apart. However, in finding many offenders’ activity spaces span wide geographic distances, we highlight challenges for crime location choice research and geographic profiling practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographic Crime Analysis)
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