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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Crime, fear and mapping

View Richmond Homicide Map 2009 in a larger map

I was originally attracted to this map through this link;

This simplistic analysis actually raises far more questions than answers but it got me hooked for half an hour wondering what sort of place Richmond California is. As an outsider it makes me feel that Richmond is a dangerous place. But is it actually? I have no point of reference. To a large extent I am a web voyeur, the serious incidents do not affect me in my everyday life. What is important is how does it affect the people in Richmond. Does it increase their fear of crime, does it make them avoid certain places, does highlight a problem that needs fixing, does it reassure people because it shows that people like them are not usually victims?

This type of information being in the public domain, though challenging, provides impetus for the authorities to address the problem and individuals to decide how they and the ones they care for do not become victims. The outcomes should be positive but if not managed by the police correctly can lead to further segregation, more guns and a fortress mentality.

The first thing to say about this map is that appears to be created by a journalist rather than the police. I think it conveys a powerful message of a serious problem with guns in Richmond California, which if you pan the map out is just north of Berkeley and San Francisco.

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