My new fascination is crime mapping.
The field of crisis mapping may still in its infancy, but crime mapping, relatively speaking, is a mature science. I have no doubt that many of the best practices, methods and software platforms developed for crime mapping are applicable to crisis mapping. This is why I plan to spend the next few months trying to get up to speed on crime mapping. If you’re interested in learning more about crime mapping, here’s how I’m getting up to speed.
Second, I got in touch with Professor Timothy Hart who is co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Crime Mapping for some guidance. He suggested that a good place to start is with the primary criminology theory, from which many of the ideas found in the field of crime mapping grew.
To this end, Tim kindly recommended the following book:
- Brantingham, Paul & Brantingham, Patricia (1991). Environmental Criminology. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
In terms of the applied side of crime mapping, Tim recommended this book to gain a better understanding of theory in practice:
- Boba, Rachel (2008). Crime Analysis with Crime Mapping. Sage Publications.
Third, I’ve registered to attend the 10th Crime Mapping Research Conference being held in New Orleans this August. And to think that I’m just co-organizing the first International Conference on Crisis Mapping, ICCM 2009. Yes, we’re 10 years behind. Just have a look at a sample of the presentations lined up:
- The Spatial Dependency of Crime Dispersion.
- A Time Geographic Approach to Crime Mapping.
- Space-time Hotspots and their Prediction Accuracy.
- Using Cluster Analysis to Identify Gang Mobility Patterns.
- Defining Hotspots: Adding an Explanatory Power to Hotspot Mapping.
- Application of Spatial Scan Statistic Methods to Crime Hot Spot Analysis.
- Applying Key Spatial Theories to Understand Maps and Preventing Crime.
- Using a Spatial Video to Capture Dynamically Changing Crime Geographies.
Fourth, I’m keeping track of news articles that refer to crime mapping, like the Wall Street Journal’s recent piece entitled “New Program Put Crime Stats on the Map.” According to the article,
Police say they use the sites to help change citizens’ behavior toward crime and encourage dialogue with communities so that more people might offer tips or leads. Some of the sites have crime-report blogs that examine activity in different locales. They also allow residents to offer tips and report crimes under way.
Is crime mapping the future of crisis mapping? Regardless of the answer, we have a lot to learn from our colleagues in the field of crime mapping as I plan to demonstrate in future blog posts. In the meantime, I hope that donors in the humanitarian and human rights communities realize that tremendous potential of crisis mapping given the value of added of maps for crime analysis.