Real Crimes on Virtual Maps, The Application of Geography and GIS in Criminology

J.G.J. Schaaik, J.J. van der Kemp

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Criminology is the scientific discipline that studies the phenomena of crime and delinquency. Criminology has links to other sciences like biology, sociology, psychology, policing and geography. As early as the beginning of the 19th century, criminologists became aware of spatial patterns in criminal behaviour. By mapping crime rates, these studies provided a series of important findings. The notion of place and space in crime was born. Between 1930 and 1970 issues of social ecology were studied, while between 1970 and 2007 environmental criminology became a prominent area of interest and research. Due to an increasing interest in issues like ‘spatial behaviour’ and ‘behaviour in space’ by geographers in the 1960s, many new concepts and ideas came to the attention of environmental criminologists. Initially, environmental criminology concentrated on the development of theories and models, but during the late 1980s and 1990s concepts from geographical information science were applied by both researchers and practitioners on a large scale. Over the last decade there has been an observable increase in the use of Geo-ICT, especially in practical settings like law enforcement and academic research on crime. However, this introduces problems and challenges for both researchers and practitioners. This chapter provides a brief description of the evolving and expanding application of geography and GIS in criminology and police practice and puts forward some solutions to overcome problems and challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeospatial Technology and the Role of Location in Science
EditorsH.J. Scholten, R.J. van de Velde, N. van Manen
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages322
ISBN (Print)9789048126194
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameGeoJournal Library


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