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When, where, if and but; qualifying GIS and the effect of streetlighting on crime and fear.

Pain, R. and MacFarlane, R. and Turner, K. and Gill, S. (2006) 'When, where, if and but; qualifying GIS and the effect of streetlighting on crime and fear.', Environment and planning A., 38 (11). pp. 2055-2074.


Geographical information systems (GIS) are increasingly used in England and Wales as a tool to monitor crime and aid community-safety planning. This is despite the widely known limitations of police-recorded data on crime victimisation, and concerns about the quality and specificity of available data on fear of crime. Meanwhile, improving streetlighting is a popular strategy both for improving community safety and for reducing fear of crime. In this paper we report on research carried out in Northumberland, northeast England, which aimed to identify locations most in need of new streetlighting. First, GIS crime hotspot maps and lighting coverage maps were analysed to identify potential areas to target. Qualitative rapid appraisal techniques were then used in these areas to explore local residents’ perceptions and understandings of the relationships between streetlighting, victimisation, and fear of crime. The qualitative data were used to interpret the hotspot maps further, and to inform the location and type of streetlighting interventions. The research demonstrates that people’s experiences of crime and fear, and their understandings of the relationships these have to streetlighting, are complex and reflective. At most, streetlighting was held to have a marginal and even then contradictory influence on the problems of crime and fear that people face. The implications are considered. We conclude that qualifying the outputs of GIS mapping was essential in this case, and has wide potential in critical policy research to promote more inclusive knowledge and more effective decisionmaking.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Victimisation, Geographical information systems, Mapping, Data, Northumberland, Hotspots.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Record Created:07 Nov 2006
Last Modified:23 Apr 2009 09:45

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