Examining Trends in the Spatial Distribution of Crime: An Analysis of Japanese Data With Kernel Density Estimation

Yutaka Harada, National Research Inst. of Police Science
Mamoru Suzuki, Natl Res. Inst. of Police Science, Japan
Takahito Shimada, National Research Inst. of Police Science

ABSTRACT
This study examines trends in spatial distribution of crime in a large urban area of Japan. The data consist of over 950,000 Penal Code offenses knolwn to the police that occurred during a five-year period of January 1996 through December 2000 in the central 23 wards of Tokyo. These data were address-geocoded onto a large-scale digital map. Kernel density estimation was used to analyze the patterns in the location of offenses and to examine the trends in such spatial pattens of offenses during the five-year period. Preliminary analyses suggest that there has been spatial diffusion in the patterns of some offense types such as snatching and that the spatial diffusion has been accompanied by changes in the temporal patterns of offenses and the attributes of victims. Further analyses and the implication of findings will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006