Recognizing that the characteristics of locations and types of buildings are important factors in offenders' selection of targets for their crimes, this study addressed the deficiency of such data for Akron, Ohio, providing a methodological framework suitable for implementation by other police departments in a range of city sizes.
One study objective was to determine the degree to which there is spatial consistency in neighborhood "crime" insight maps created by ex-offenders in comparison with existing crime and 911 call-out data "hotspots, " as well as to determine how these perceptions fit with non-offenders and neighborhood police officers. Another objective was to determine whether these neighborhood "crime" insight maps reveal environmental signatures that can be translated to other Akron neighborhoods in order to explain and predict crime patterns. In order to address these issues, ex-offenders, neighborhood officers, and key community members provided "geonarratives" of three Akron neighborhoods for 1 year. Simultaneously, data from three other Akron neighborhoods were collected, using the spatial video system. The spatial video set-up includes two cameras mounted on side windows of a car, with one pointed horizontally and the other angled slightly downward. The use of four cameras is designed to maximize the field of view, as well as to build in redundancy on either side in case one camera fails. A dual microphone cable and splitter box was developed by the project team in order to capture within-car commentary on places being recorded by each camera. During spatial video collection, ex-offenders, police officers, and neighborhood residents accompanying the research team narrated on neighborhood sites. The narrative, which also has GPS locations attached to it, is then transcribed and digitized as polygons on the neighborhood map. This project advances a methodology that will benefit a number of fields, including criminal justice, public health, and geography. Exhibits, 5 references, and abstracts of project publications
Date Published: June 1, 2018