Research in psychology, recently reported in The Daily Telegraph, suggests that criminals have favoured locations for carrying out crimes such as burglaries, car thefts and robberies, which cover relatively small areas. As an extension of this, the report’s authors suggest that it might be possible to deduce the identity of repeat offenders by analysing the location of crimes.
However, relatively little is known about the factors that cause crime to happen in particular locations. Joanna Taylor et al., examine the links between social and economic indicators and antisocial behaviour. Their research found that perceived levels of antisocial behaviour was more associated with neighbourhood-scale deprivation, poverty and the proportion of young people. High levels of ethnic diversity were found to have little association with antisocial behaviour. Taylor therefore recommends policies that target deprived or urban neighbourhoods, or neighbourhoods with a high proportion of younger people, might be more successful than those that target community cohesion.
Understanding the causal links between socio-economic factors and crime, in addition to the statistical associations discussed in the articles above, remains a key area in which geographers can contribute and understanding of the importance of place.