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Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence


Criminologists, law enforcement officials, and city planners have long been interested in the relationship between geography and crime. Some of the earliest empirical studies of crime were conducted in the 1830s and 1840s by Andre Michel Guerry and Adolphe Quetelet, who plotted recorded crimes on maps and showed considerable variation in the numbers of crimes across geographic areas. As part of the Chicago ecological school of the 1920s and 1930s, Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay examined rates of delinquency in reference to the concentric zones in urban areas. The development of social area analysis and factor analytic techniques in the 1950s and 1960s renewed interest in the relationship between space and crime. These methods demonstrated a strong relationship between the population characteristics and crime rates in areas. The related fields of environmental criminology and the geography of crime emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, demonstrating the multidisciplinary nature of the subject. These fields seek to explain the spatial distribution of offenses and the spatial distribution of offenders. While many of these developments have focused on an understanding and explanation of spatial variations in interpersonal crime per se, they also have contributed to crime prevention and control efforts.

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Original citation: Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence, Claire Renzetti and Jeffrey Edelson, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing (2008).


Sage Publishing

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Thousand Oaks, CA

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