The current research is intended to explore the geography of crimes in the Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction. Geography of crime studies the spatial structure, environmental association, features of a place and their association with crime (Relph Edward, 1976). As defined by Georges (1978), geography of crime is defined as “the study of spatial manifestation of criminal acts. It is the study of social and cultural organization of criminal behavior in spatial perspective”. Geography of crime studies environmental factors surrounding to criminal events, community ecology and structure temporal aspects of crime along with spatial aspects, type of victim and offender and their neighborhood characteristics along with physical, social, economic and political factors (Kim, 2014, p. 1).
Even the crime analysis in general sense advocates the dynamics of geography of crime. Crime analysis is the systematic study of crime and disorder problem, as well as other police-related issues – including sociodemographic, spatial and temporal factors- to assist the police in criminal apprehension, crime and disorder reduction, crime prevention, and evaluation (Boba, 2016). From this definition it seems that crime analysis incorporated the crime geography perspective in it. Therefore the current study analyses the occurred crimes in Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction from the geographical perspective. Spatial-temporal analysis is considered to be an integral part in geographical studies and research. This research also included the spatio-temporal analysis using crime maps prepared by advanced GIS techniques. Besides this, socio-economic aspects of the crimes are also explored in the study. We have opted the deductive approach in the study where the validity of dynamics of crime geography has been checked in the analysis of crimes in the study area. We believe that this is a pioneering work in understanding crime geography in Indian context which can be applied to crime analysis at various levels in India and can use for international comparison.
2. Justification of Research:
Spatial studies of various human and physical aspects and environmental, socio-economic and demographic factors influencing on them are lies at the core of geographical studies. Geography of crime studies crimes from geographical point of view and current research also tried to sought crime from the same perspective. Since Chicago school of criminology, various scholars studied the crime scenario and their perceived causes in various countries at macro, meso and micro level. Even in India there are many crime studies from different perspective (for example, Agarwal, 2018; Bushra Bano, 2013; Chauhan Ritvik and Baraik Vijay Kumar, 2016; Gupta, Rajitha, Basu, & Mittal, 2012; Karmakar, 2017; Math et al., 2014; Rajesh & Punithavalli, 2012; Sahu & Srivastava, 2004). Most of these studies in India are related either to particular type of crime or particular method or particular aspect of crime. But author didn’t come across any single study which incorporated the theories of crime geography empirically.
Current search work with meso and micro-level analysis of crimes in Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction from geographical perspective carried the deductive approach and tried the empirical assessment of theories of crime including social disorganization theory, routine activity theory and geometric theory of crime. Spatio-temporal aspects of crimes in the study region have explored via crime mapping with the help of various tools and techniques of GIS. Crime causation from social ecology and environmental criminology perspective also explained with the help of empirical assessment of theories of crime geography which include the socio-economic and demographic determinants of crimes in the study area.
Our research explored spatial aspects of crimes, temporal aspects of crimes, testing of social disorganization theory, routine activity theory and geometric theory of crime. Our research would also help in crime preventive measures to for crime prevention, control, apprehension and reduction which indicate the applicability of the search in real world.
3. Study Area:
The current study is confined to 'Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction' (ACPJ) which is located in and around of Ahmednagar city, which is a district place of Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra states in India. The latitudinal extent of the study area is 19º1’11’’ North Latitude to 19º9’18’’ North Latitude and longitudinal extent is 74º40'33'' East Longitude to 74º50’16’’ East Longitude. The study area holds 435,811 people (2011 Census of India) and 186.16 km2 area composed of three police sub-jurisdictions: Kotwali, Topkhana and Camp. ACPJ is composed both of urban and rural area where the urban area (Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation and Ahmednagar Cantonment Board) accounts 80 % population and 58 % geographical area out of the whole study region. The dominance of urban area in the study region has also persisted in the level of crime where more than 80 % crimes during the year 2011-2018 (study period) were registered in the urban sub-jurisdictions (Kotwali and Tofkhana). We have taken ‘block’ as a unit of analysis accounting total 26 blocks from three different administrative units including Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation (17 blocks), Ahmednagar Cantonment Board (1 block) and adjacent 8 villages (8 blocks). Distribution of block area is skewed with 7.16 km2 average area while the maximum and minimum area of the block is 30.89 km2 and 0.91 km2 respectively. Urban blocks held high population density than the rural counterparts.
1. To comprehend socio-economic and demographic profile of the study area in the context of crime studies
2. To carry out the spatio-temporal crime analysis and crime mapping of the study area
3. To find out the socio-economic and demographic determinants of crime pattern and crime distribution in the study area
5. Sources of Data:
The present study based on both primary and secondary data. Required data and its sources are as given below.
Boundaries and Maps:
• Base map of the Police Jurisdiction: Base map of the Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction (ACPJ) has been collected from the office of Sub-Divisional Police Officer of the Ahmednagar city.
• Ward-wise map of Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation (AMC): This map has been collected from the official website of AMC.
• Civil area map of Ahmednagar Cantonment Board (ACB): This map has been collected from the office of ACB.
• Maps of adjacent eight villages: These maps were extracted from district census handbook and SOI toposheet.
Primary Data of Crime and Population:
• GPS locations of crimes and criminals home base: GPS locations of criminal incidents based on their address mentioned in the crime register were collected with the help of GPS instrument. 8202 locations of various crimes were found out of 9171 cognizable IPC crimes registered during the year 2011-2018. Offenders who arrested for committing any crime during the year 2011-2018 were considered for the further offenders study and GPS locations of their home addresses, as mentioned in the police record, were collected. 8738 GPS locations of offenders’ address were found and collected out of 13651 offenders.
• Population characteristics of crime-prone and safe zone neighborhoods: Population data of personal and household characteristics with special emphasis on criminogenic characteristics (derived from crime theories) of the area were collected with the help of sample survey from the crime-prone and safe zone neighborhoods. Random sample survey was carried out in total 26 blocks (wards and villages) and information from the 1081 households was collected. Depending on the size of population information from nearly 30 to 70 households was collected from each block.
Secondary Data of Crime and Population:
• Crime Data Collection: Data of cognizable IPC crimes registered during the year 2011-2018 has considered for the further analysis with the permission of concerned police authority. This data of crime has been collected manually from ‘crime entry registers’ (part I to V) and ‘arrest registers’ from three police stations of ACPJ. Crime entry registers includes the information regarding crime number, date and time of criminal incidents, type of crime and its IPC act/s, date and time of criminal incidence, address of criminal incident etc. Arrest registers includes the information regarding personal and demographic characteristics of accused such as age, gender, address, religion, caste, education occupation and addiction of accused.
• Population characteristics: Population characteristics of study area were compiled from various sources. Population characteristics of Ahmednagar municipal corporation (AMC) has been collected from 2011 Ahmednagar district census handbook of as well as from official website of AMC. Population characteristics of Ahmednagar cantonment board (ACB) and adjacent eight villages of Nagar tehsil has been collected from 2011 Ahmednagar district census handbook.
Following process has been carried out for the generation of base map and other aspects:
Obtaining of Satellite data and related attribute data
Remote sensing techniques and Geographical Information System used for the generation of base map and related data base from toposheet of Survey of India (SOI) and satellite data
Application of standard image processing techniques to identify spatial distribution of land use and land cover in the study area using GIS
Creation of GIS layers: Boundary of study area from the topographical maps and Google map for the study area using ArcGIS software.
The following methods and techniques are used in the study for crime analysis.
A) GIS Techniques:
• Kernel Density Tool: Study adopted this tool in ArcGIS to extract the spatial distribution of density of crime using natural break method. This study is used to prepare crime maps for the spatio-temporal analysis of crimes.
B) Cartographic Techniques:
• Cartographic techniques such as bar graph and line graphs are used for the trend analysis of crimes.
C) Statistical Techniques:
• Crime Rate:
Crime Rate = C/P * 100,000
Where C = No. of crimes in area, P = Total population of the area
Crime rate is used for the trend analysis of crimes.
• Multivariate Regression Estimates:
y = b1x2 + b2x2 + ….. + bnxn + c
Where b1’s (i = 1,2,…n) are the regression coefficient, which represent the value at which the criterion variable changes when the predictor variable changes.
This method has been used in the study to estimate the impact of social disorganization variables on level of crimes in the study area.
• Chi-Square Test:
χ2 = ∑(O – E)2 / E
Where ∑ means to sum up, O = each observed (actual) value, E = each expected value
This test is used for the assessment of impact of socio-economic variables (grouped or dichotomous variables) on the level of crimes in the study area.
• Mann-Whitney U Test:
A Mann-Whitney U test is a non-parametric test. This test has been carried out in SPSS in crime trip distance analysis when independent variables were dichotomous in nature.
• Kruskal-Wallis H test:
A Kruskal-Wallis H test is a non-parametric test. It is used when independent variables were available in Likert-scale. This test is used in the crime trips distance analysis.
D) Computer Programming: Distances between the location of offenders’ home and location of crimes have been extracted using coding in MS Excel macros. Total 8738 crime trip distances were extracted using this technique.
E) Survey Method: Household sample survey has been carried out in all 26 blocks in the study region. In survey 1081 samples from the household have been collected. Socio-economic analysis of crimes has been carried out through statistical analysis on the data collected from the sample survey.
7. Major findings:
Chapter-wise comprehensive findings are as follow.
a) Chapter IV: Socio-Ecological Determinants of Crimes:
Testing of social disorganization theory on data revealed the consistency of current results with this theory which underlined the applicability and validity of social disorganization theory for crime analysis in the study area. The level of education, income and occupation of people are seen associated with crimes in the study area. The degree of urbanization is found the most important correlates in the many crimes in the study. A good friendship network and residential stability of residents is found resistance for criminal activities in the neighborhood. Measures of social heterogeneity, family disruption and organizational participation are needed to be revised or changed in the context of study area but not because of their inconsistency with theory but because of the different social setup of traditional society like Ahmednagar city in more specific manner than the western society in which social disorganization concept have been structured. But testing of social disorganization theory revealed that spatial variations in crimes (at the neighborhood level) are associated with the socio-economic characteristics of the people and area. Hence induced constructive change in social ecology can reduce, control and prevent crimes at least in class I type cities like Ahmednagar city.
The current study has shown the moderate association of crimes in the Ahmednagar police jurisdiction with many socio-structural characteristics of the area. This association is consistent with the CPTED aspect of crime study. Particularly some indicators of activity support, neighborhood control and surveillance dimension of CPTED have considerably differentiated the degree of crimes at the neighborhood level in the study area. The proximity of societal activities like public garden/sports ground, shopping complexes and school/college is seen significantly associated with the degree of crimes in Ahmednagar city. The diurnal crowd of outsiders is seen influenced on the degree of crimes at neighborhood level. Moderate effect of lighting and ownership of houses has been observed on the level of crimes in Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction. Indicators of access control and territoriality are needed to be revised or changed in the socio-structural context of small city like Ahmednagar. Overall these socio-structural variables are significantly associated with the degree of crimes at the neighborhood level in the study area. This suggest that modification or construction physical environment through social fabrication can prevent crimes in the first place in Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction.
b) Chapter V: Spatial Analysis of Crimes
Consistent with this dynamics of environmental criminology, the spatial distributions of crimes in the Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction are seen associated with the commercial, recreational and residential use of land, residential categories such as high-class to low-class residences or slums, location of transportation nodes and pathways and mobility of people within existing physical environment and congregation of transient population at nodes of work, shopping, recreation and transportation and pathways between them. Spatial variations in the distribution of crimes in Ahmednagar city have been observed according to the differences in degree of these factors. Beside this static physical environment, spatial concentration of crimes is also differentiated by proximity of offenders' home location. The spatial proximity of offender is found highly relevant correlates of crimes in Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction. Spatial differences in distribution of crimes are also observed according the individual characteristics of offenders including age of offenders and their solo or co-offending type. Among all aspects of crimes considered in the current study, the spatial correlates of crime have shown the utmost consistency with the spatial distribution of crimes in the Ahmednagar city at various levels. The results generated from spatial analysis of crime have visualized the actual spatial concentration of crimes and their spatial correlates which are considered to be the most important source for executing crime preventive strategies in the study area. Spatial analysis of crime can facilitate maximum crime prevention using the minimum policing resources which can save money, time and energy of the police organization.
c) Chapter VI: Trend Analysis of Crimes
The temporal aspect of crime has an equal importance like spatial aspect of crime and both cannot be separated from each other. Crime cannot be prevented fully by just knowing its places while ignoring its temporal patterns of occurrences. The current study observed the temporal variations in the occurrences of crimes in the study area which are seen associated with the hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal changes in the routine activities of the mainstream urban population such as work and leisure hours, weekdays and weekends, festivals, holidays, rainy season, summer and winter vacations. The inclusion of temporal aspect of crime along with the spatial aspect can strengthen the crime preventive strategies which can reduce maximum possible crimes in the Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction.
d) Chapter VII: Crime Trip Distance Analysis
Crime trip distance analysis or journey-to-crime analysis reveals the factors responsible for differences in distance travelled by offenders for offending various crimes in Ahmednagar city police jurisdiction. The current study has mainly focused on the influence of personal characteristics of offenders on the crime trip distances travelled by offenders for offending various crimes in Ahmednagar city. This found that crime trips distances are relatively shorter suggesting that mainstream offenders are preferred to offend crime near their home locations than farther areas. Crime trip distances for serious crimes like murder, molestation and grievous hurt are observed relatively shorter than for property crimes like theft, burglary and robbery in Ahmednagar city. The crime trip distances travelled by offenders for offending various crimes in the study area are seen statistically significantly associated with the personal characteristics of offenders which includes the age of offenders, gender of offenders, offending type, age of offenders along with offending type, neighborhood proximity and locality of offenders. The results revealed in this analysis can become helpful to formulate the geographic profiling technique for predicting the location of offender/s based on earlier crime trips distances and their correlates. This can become the most important application of this study if used for criminal apprehension and future crime prevention in the Ahmednagar city.
8. Conclusion and Suggestions:
The spatial distribution of crimes revealed that crime hotspots of the many crimes in the study area are concentrated around the core area of Ahmednagar city. This is the CBD of Ahmednagar city having many commercial, administrative, social and recreational nodes. With the increasing population these commercial nodes are expanding radially from the center and it could be possible that crime hotspots may expand simultaneously. Spatial proximity of offenders has been seen dominant correlates of spatial distribution of crimes in the study area. Rapidly expanding transportation nodes and pathways can facilitate offenders to come closer to targets without living nearby. This may become the negative impact of infrastructural growth of the study area. From any facets geometric theory of crime answered the spatial distribution of crimes and subsequent changes in the same due to inevitable spatial expansion of city life. Globalization has been changing the routine life of urban inhabitants. People are being busier in non-household activities with non-household members. This is withdrawing informal guardianship from society and in turn, supporting indirectly to illegal criminal activities. Routine activity theory revealed that all these changing activities are the cause of crimes at particular space and time. Ever changing physical-structural environment cannot become detached from the human environment and its socio-economic and demographic aspect. Social set-up of the area is changing rapidly like never before which resulting in to loosening of social ties among people, group and area. Additionally unequal distribution of resources regarding the materialistic life is leading many individuals into criminality due lack of resources and opportunity. And this is becoming cause for many individuals to involve in offending property crimes and personal crimes. These socio-economic and demographic determinants are addressed very well in social disorganization theory and present study found the association of crimes with the same theory. In nutshell, earlier theories of crime geography are still found valid to answer the causes of crimes in study area. The results from the present study can be used for crime reduction and crime prevention strategies in class-I type cities in Maharashtra states of India and it can be used for comparison also.