Tracking Social Life and Crime

  • Vania Ceccato
  • Per Olof H. Wikström


An individual’s decision to commit a crime is influenced, among other things, by his/her whereabouts over time and space. In this chapter, we suggest the use of geographic information systems (GIS), combined with space–time budget techniques, to visualise and track individuals’ daily activities patterns. We first test several GIS-based visualisation techniques for handling spatial and temporal dimensions of activity patterns using a dataset of adolescents in Peterborough, UK. Later, we show how these spatial methods can support the creation of measures of environmental exposure that may help predict group-level offending. Findings indicate that visualisation techniques are effective tools for exploratory analysis of how individuals differ in their patterns of activity across the city. Results also show that tracking groups of individuals by using measures of environmental exposure, in combination with individual characteristics and settings, can help explain differences in their levels of offending.


Geographic Information System Time Budget Modifiable Areal Unit Problem Social Disorganisation Theory Risky Environment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture and the Built EnvironmentRoyal Institute of Technology (KTH)StockholmSweden
  2. 2.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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