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An Evaluation of Various Techniques of Meaurement of Hot Spots of Crime


Dr Nasreen Akhtar, Dr Hanif Qureshi, IPS

That crime is non randomly distributed has long been known. However, the measurement of crime hotspots and its application to crime control strategies is fairly new. Especially, the sue of GIS and other software for mapping and plotting of hotspots has given a new dimension to crime prevention. This paper reviews the various issues in defining hotspots with a view to make preventive strategies for handling of crime events. We also look at the methods used at present for measurement of hotspots of crime. It is highlighted that the hotness of the crime spots can be measured in multiple ways and each of them results in a specific recommendation to formulate an effective response to crime events.

Introduction

Police officers have long recognized the importance of place in crime problems (Braga, A. A., Weisburg, D. L., & Waring, E. J., 1999). However, until recently, crime prevention strategists have not systematically analyzed crime hot spots. Similarly, they have not addressed the underlying conditions that give rise to high activity crime places. However, a Police Foundation report found that 7 in 10 police departments in the United States used crime mapping to identify crime hot spots (Weisberg et al., 2001). Recent research suggests that focused police interventions such as directed patrols and proactive arrests can produce significant gains in crime prevention at high crime spots (Eck, 1997, 2002; Braga, 2002; Weisburd and Eck, 2004).

Criminology has traditionally focused on two main units of analysis: individuals and communities. They often speculate as to why certain individuals or communities are prone to commit more crime. However, some criminologists have focused their attention to the context of crime and the opportunities presented to the potential offender. For example, Ronald Clarke has used situational crime prevention to analyze crime in public transport. (Smith Martha J, Clarke Ronald V, & Michael T., 2000). The implication of this perspective is that high crime areas are an important focus of inquiry.

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