I have recently attended the Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual meeting to present a paper entitled: Understanding Crime Context with Novel Geo-Spatial Data (available for download here).
The work of crime analysts and modellers could benefit substantially from the use of new spatial data sets that are becoming more readily available. Examples include road networks (e.g. Open Street Map), building boundary datasets (e.g Ordnance Survey MasterMap) as well as under-utilised social network data (e.g. Twitter) or other volunteered sources. However, due to a lack of resources and considerable technical barriers, very few analysts exploit these types of data or understand how they could be used to offer benefits in terms of understanding crime.
This paper will review the work of the GeoCrimeData Project which is exploring many novel data sources and manipulating them using geographical routines in order to generate new forms of spatial intelligence that can help to add value to the interpretation of recorded crime data. Ultimately, the project will re-release the data and methods freely for use by professionals working in the field of crime analysis. In particular, this paper will demonstrate how the use of a road network data set and a collection of geo-located ‘tweets’ can be used to inform an analysis of violent crime.