PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (4): 561-573.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.04.013

• Socio-Cultural Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Review of crime geography in China

JIANG Chao1,2, TANG Huanli3, LIU Lin1,2,4   

  1. 1. Center of Integrated Geographic Information Analysis, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    2. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    3. Guangdong Center for Marine Resource Research & Development, Guangzhou 510070, China;
    4. Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-1031, USA
  • Received:2013-12-01 Revised:2014-02-01 Online:2014-04-25 Published:2014-04-25
  • Contact: 柳林(1965- ),男,湖南湘潭人,教授,博士生导师,主要从事人文地理信息科学与犯罪时空分析与模拟研究,E-mail:liulin2@mail.sysu.edu.cn。 E-mail:liulin2@mail.sysu.edu.cn

Abstract: As crime is becoming a serious problem in today's society, there exists a great opportunity for anticrime studies in China. Crime geography, which focuses on the spatial aspect of crime from a comprehensive perspective, is playing an increasingly more important role in crime prevention and control. Although it emerged in the late 1980s in China, it has not gained much attention from academics and practitioners of law enforcement. The potential of crime geography studies is considerable. In order to promote disciplinary development and explore the application value of the subject, we review related studies in China based on articles published in scholarly journals, which are obtained from three popular e-databases in China: Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), WANFANG DATA, and VIP Database. Our analysis are divided into three parts. (1) we classify all articles into five research topics: introduction of foreign research and practices, discipline building and theoretical research, spatio-temporal characteristics of crime distribution, causes and mechanisms of crimes, and crime prevention strategies. Each theme is reviewed comprehensively. (2) We gain insights from a longitudinal and cross-over analysis on the development of the research areas (disciplinary backgrounds) and topics in Chinese crime geography. (3) We point out the priorities and directions in future research. The results show that crime geography in China has maintained a growing momentum during the past 25 years (1986-2010). It has attracted scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds, such as geography, policing management, urban planning and applied mathematics. Although their focuses vary, they all pay much attention to the introduction of foreign research and practices whilst crime prevention strategies research is gaining increasing attention. Until now, a primary anticrime system has been formed based on four different theories and techniques including comprehensive analysis, situational crime prevention, Crime Prevention through Environment Design (CPTED) and Policing Geographic Information System (PGIS). In terms of spatial- temporal distribution and causes of crimes, Chinese researchers have engaged in a broad range of research, yet in-depth studies are inadequate. Most studies employ simple indicators such as crime rate, crime density, and locational quotient to characterize the spatial distribution of crimes, while few pay attention to the temporal and temporal-spatial aspects, for example repeat and near repeat crimes. Quantitative methods such as correlation and regression are mainly used to analyze the causes of crimes, while few methods are put forward and used to explore the micro-level interactive mechanisms of crime. Considering the current state of research, much work needs to be done in the future. (1) Interdisciplinary academic exchanges should be encouraged to develop a commonly accepted framework of crime geography in China. (2) Chinese scholars should carry out more empirical case studies highlighting the domestic context, and explore unique theoretical contributions of Chinese scholars to the world. (3)We should deepen and broaden the research contents, especially the study of interactive relationships between crime and micro- environment, and behavioral spaces of agents in crime events. (4) Special attention should be given to the application of new research methods, for example agent-based crime simulation, in crime geography studies. (5) more collaboration between academics and practitioners should be made to satisfy the social needs and improve the quality of research.

Key words: China, crime geography, disciplinary backgrounds, research topics, review

CLC Number: 

  • K901