The Impact of Geography on Criminal Justice

Geography has a significant impact on criminal justice. Visual cues based on the location of a place can shape the perception of how serious crime is or is not in a certain area. Park and Burgess conducted a study in Chicago and found that criminal activity was associated with what they called transition zones located around the city center (Winterdyk 2000, p.).During his speech, the speaker highlighted that most of the figures and statistics that report on disparities in the criminal justice system are focused on urban areas, ignoring disparities in rural areas. To address this issue, commissions should be responsible for providing the funding and organizing the analysis of data to create a complete database with all the information about people and communities.

This will help to identify any disparity for any group, whether by race, ethnicity or gender, but also reduce it by sexual identity, veteran status and other groups that may be treated differently by the criminal justice system. The study of social characteristics of offenders and victims can be extended to a critical examination of the role of place in influencing criminal activity. The concept of criminal opportunity is another broad theoretical tradition that addresses some of the criticisms of the ecological approach. Research in criminology reveals that certain social characteristics are related to a greater likelihood of participation in criminal activities. It is assumed that opportunity is the necessary condition for crime and that the increasing number of consumer goods in stores and homes and the sharp increase in personal wealth have provided greater opportunities for criminal activity. Moreover, police decision-making can also influence crime rates in neighborhoods since active enforcement in a particular community creates the perception of higher levels of criminal activity than those that actually exist.

Luis Mersinger
Luis Mersinger

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