New Publication: Identifying Violent Crime “Hot Spots” For More Effective Violence Prevention

Ashley Garrity Media/News, Publications 3 Comments

The American Journal of Public Health has just published a new article from Dr. Robert Lipton, faculty member of the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center and University of Michigan Injury Center. The publication, “The Geography of Violence, Alcohol Outlets, and Drug Arrests in Boston,” details how Dr. Lipton and his colleagues identified and mapped violent crime “hot spots” in Boston. Using 2006 alcohol, illegal drug, crime, and socioeconomic data, the researchers identified the areas of Boston with the greatest amount of violent crimes. These same areas also had the greatest number of alcohol outlets (such as bars and liquor stores) and  illegal drug arrests, both of which were found to be predictive of violence.

The findings suggest an important strategy for violence prevention. The ability to use geographic alcohol and illegal drug data to predict neighborhoods at the greatest risk for violent crimes can help police and policy makers direct their efforts to the areas that need it most. MI-YVPC is beginning to analyze relevant data in order to map the violent crime “hot spots” in Flint.

Article Citation:
Lipton, R., Yang, X., Braga, A. A., Goldstick, J., Newton, M., & Rura, M. (2013). The geography of violence, alcohol outlets, and drug arrests in Boston. American Journal  of Public Health. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300927

Read the press release from the University of Michigan Health System for more information:

Comments 3

  1. This is great. I believe “hot spot” mapping is a great crime prevention tool for law enforcement. Being able to direct a patrol to a certain area’s known for having more issues with drugs, alcohol, or any crime related problem will benefit the local community. More often then not people want to see police officers in their community, with the help of “hot spot” mapping, they will be able to see changes.

  2. Yes, hot spot mapping can be a useful tool towards identifying a problem, but I’m not so sure how much it can actually eliminate major crime in a city. For instance, when the criminals in the hot spot realize that their area is being target more than usual by police, they will likely just move their criminal activities to an area that isn’t receiving as much police attention.. If this is the case, the problem isn’t really solved, but rather moved to a new location. However, I do agree that hot spot mapping does have its advantages. Essentially, by hot spot mapping, police would be able to pinpoint a specific group of people committing specific crimes. Being able to define the problem goes a long ways towards finding a solution for it. Lastly, hot spot mapping will provide the police with the valuable information they need before they install a policing strategy in order to take care of the problem.

  3. Yes, Hotspotting is a great way to identify a problem within the city. As I have learned in many of my classes, hotspotting doesnt always work for prevention to crime. Being able to identify certain areas of crime is very convenient for law enforcement. In my opinion, if a criminal knows there is a Hot spot area the likely of them staying in that area is very low. Criminals will find any way to stay out of trouble.