Field Study in Crime Mapping Data Ft. Laud.
Article Takeaway:
  • Avoiding violent crime
  • Real­time crime mapping
  • Crime structure and random crime
Criminologists in Chicago long offered the view that criminal offending is a patterned and
structured phenomenon. In 1934, Chicago School of criminologists, Shaw and McCay, noted that
the rate of crime, not to be confused with the raw frequency, are highest in zones of transitions
where there are low levels of social bonding, control, and where social institutions fail. Yes, the
rate of crime is highest in urban inner cities and decrease as urban areas become rural.
However, there are times in which the predictability of crime rates give way to random events.
Historically, there are black swans, also regarded as erratic behavior, that cannot be predicted by
statistics, science, or any other social scientific methods.
Sometimes, just sometimes, there are moments when decent people, unsuspecting people,
harmless people come into contact with violent wrongdoers. There are horrible moments in time
and place where the motivated offenders find a suitable target who lack guardianship (Felson and
Cohen, 1979) that should never have met let alone become permanently entangled in a life or
death event.
The current era is replete with examples in which the “good people” come into gross contact with
those who want to do harm. For example, imagine waiting for baggage claim after leaving from
Detroit and landing at Fort Lauderdale Airport only to see a former military leader holding
sophisticated weapons, such as an AR­15, and opening fire. Random violence is rare but a
concern in the modern era nonetheless. In this recent January 2017, the violent outburst that
killed five strangers, one of whom was a great­grandmother coming to visit her
great­grandchildren, and injuring eight others.
Though rare, violence is real and people want to have access to real­time information about crime
events so as to avoid both the danger, and it’s aftermath. The new Redzone Map application
available on smartphones can notify people of such events with a simple beep or vibration. It can
warn of pending trial or provide alternative routes to avoid such danger.
Unique to RedZone Maps, persons who are on the scene can provide real­time information and
location so that drivers, and in this case travelers, can provide updates on imminent danger.
Advanced information has the effect of providing proactive information that could save lives, allow
emergency management crews easier access to crime scenes, and promote a sense of civility in
the aftermath of calamity. If information is knowledge and the avenue to strength, the Redzone
application is a source of data in times of emergency. Redzone provides alternatives for those
rare and unlikely, moments.
For those, however, concerned with daily threats the Redzone can also provide routes that
minimize the travel time and distance through areas that have higher rates of crime. Though
vicious attack is unlikely, it never hurts to have a plan of safety moving through some of America’s
crime prone areas. RedZone provides crime mapping accessibility that takes much of the worry
out of both structured and random crime events. In this era of threat, it’s excellent to know that
there are usable, reliable, and accessible sources of information. Who knows, in events such as
those in Fort Lauderdale, real­time information could save lives when crime meets random.
Citations:
Felson and Cohen 1979 “Routine Activities Theory” and “Shaw & McKay” 1934 Social
Disorganization Theory” where the Chicago School of Criminology created the rates of crime by
mapping to show its ecological distribution.