PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2012, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (10): 1390-1398.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2012.10.017

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Review on the Foreign Criminal Geography Research

YAN Xiaobing1,2, JIAO Huafu1   

  1. 1. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University,Wuhu 241003, China;
    2. Zhejiang Police Academy, Hangzhou 310018, China
  • Received:2012-03-01 Revised:2012-07-01 Online:2012-10-25 Published:2012-10-25

Abstract: Urban crime, one of the most important problems affecting people’s life, has strong geographic color. Criminal geography study is multi-discipline research concerning criminology, urban social geography and other related subjects. This paper reviews the development of foreign criminal geography in five aspects. (1) The development in theory. Social disorganization theory is the first to focus on communities as a relevant geographical unit of inquiry. It explains higher rates of delinquency through the structural characteristics of neighborhoods, including low economic status, residential instability, and ethnic heterogeneity. But, it does not tell us how environmental characteristics are linked to individual action. Routine activity theory originally identifies three elements necessary for a crime to occur, a motivated offender, a suitable target and the lack of a capable guardian. The rational choice perspective addresses how offenders make the decision to offend under the rational choice perspective, offenders use a form of“bounded rationality”when making the decision to commit a specific offense. They explain the interaction between individual characteristics and environment, but, individual characteristics and experiences are treated equally to crime causation. Situational action theory aims to provide a truly ecological perspective in the analysis and study of moral action and crime. It is a general theory that seeks to integrate personal and environmental explanatory perspectives within the framework of a situational action theory. (2) Visual criminal behavior. How to describe the spatial criminal behavior is the first step of criminal geography. (3) Criminal pattern. Criminals do not move randomly through their environment. How do we reveal its geographic law? (4) Spatial autocorrelation and spatial heterogeneity. The presence of spatial autocorrelation may lead to biased and inconsistent regression model parameter estimates and increase the risk of a type I error in statistics. Using the spatial weights matrix W and putting WY, WX and into the regression model is the solvable method. Then, GWR can solve spatial heterogeneity. (5) Computational experiment. What can the computational experiment do for the criminal geography research? (6) Changing in criminal geography. The development in GIS presents a new tool for a better understanding of criminal activity. The criminal geography is undergone a process from motive to action, and from macro-level to micro-level. Some fields in criminal geography have expanded so much. The rapid development of criminal geography in the Western countries will provide reference for similar studies in China.

Key words: criminal geography, development, spatial effect, urban crime