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Geography and Public Safety: A Quarterly Bulletin of Applied Geography for the Study of Crime & Public Safety, Volume 1, Issue 3

NCJ Number
Geography & Public Safety Volume: 1 Issue: 3 Dated: October 2008 Pages: 1-19
Date Published
September 2008
19 pages
This issue of “Geography & Public Safety” focuses on the use of crime mapping, “broken-windows“ theory, and crime problemsolving models in addressing the link between the subprime housing foreclosure crisis and the geographic distribution of crime.
The introductory article presents an overview of the distinctive factors in the geographic distribution of clustered housing foreclosures and the environmental and social factors linked to various crimes such as theft, vandalism, drug dealing, vagrancy, prostitution, and arson. This link is related to the relatively high percentage of uninhabited houses involved in foreclosure, the decay of social bonds established among neighbors who protect one another’s interests, and other factors which make it evident to criminals that crimes committed in such communities have a low risk of detection. In confirming this scenario, one article reports on a study by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (North Carolina) that found a link between neighborhoods heavily hit by foreclosures and the geographic distribution of crimes. Several news stories in this issue provide an overview of how the foreclosure crisis has brought new problems to many cities across the country. The issue also uses the “broken-windows” theory in order to explain why cities that are experiencing blight and disorder as a result of foreclosures should react quickly in order to address the conditions that breed crime. In this connection, one article describes the features of a graffiti abatement program created in Riverside, CA through the partnering of the Public Works Department and the Police Department of Riverside, CA. Another article reviews the book, “Pockets of Crime,” which uses the perspectives of hardcore Chicago street criminals to confirm the theories of “broken window” and “collective efficacy.”

Date Published: September 1, 2008