Tropical Geography ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (5): 892-905.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003380

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Review and Development of Crime Geography Studies in China and Abroad since 2000

Junjun Zhoua,b(), Gang Lia,b(), Tingting Xua,b, Jiaobei Wanga,b, Shuyan Xuea,b, Ling Liua,b, Yushan Huanga,b   

  1. a.College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, Northwest University, Xi'an 710127, China
    b.Shaanxi Key Laboratory of, Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, Northwest University, Xi'an 710127, China
  • Received:2021-03-03 Revised:2021-04-09 Online:2021-09-05 Published:2021-09-22
  • Contact: Gang Li;


Crime geography, as a new interdisciplinary subject in academia, has attracted extensive attention. Based on the "Web of ScienceTM Core Collection" and CNKI data sources, this study clarifies the thematic structure and development of crime geography in China and abroad by using CiteSpace. Specifically, the study comparatively examines the progress of crime geography studies in China and abroad since 2000 and analyzes future development trends from the time of publication, regional and subject distribution, research institutions, and keyword co-occurrence. We hope that this work provides a relatively complete and objective understanding for innovative future research. The results indicate that from 2000 to 2020, a total of 841 articles were published in the Web of Science across three growth stages—slow, medium, and rapid—with the most of these articles come from USA. For the same period, 160 articles were published in CNKI across two stages—initial exploration and slow development—with a relatively slower growth rate. The subject categories were wide, and cooperation networks among research institutions were stronger abroad. The studies were mainly in the fields of criminology and penology geography, environmental sciences and ecology, urban studies, and social sciences. Domestic subjects were relatively concentrated, and institutional connections were weak. Follow-up research is still in developmental stages. Foreign countries experience various crimes, across micro and macro areas, including violence, terrorism, racial discrimination, and gender discrimination. Crime, criminology & geography, space, place, hot spots, routine activity, and neighborhood were the main keywords in foreign studies, forming three thematic modules: crime distribution patterns; crime prevention and control countermeasures; and crime theory and methodology. Research in China focused on robberies, snatching and theft, child trafficking, and drug crimes, including keywords such as crime geography, crime hotspots, crime mapping, and GIS. The number of empirical studies on this topic is increasing. With the increase in interdisciplinary integration, crime geography has undergone significant development. Crime distribution patterns, spatial prevention and control measures, and crime risk simulations are still popular topics. "3S" technology and big data applications will become two parallel lines in future crime geography research. In the future, we need to examine the geographical environment of crime comprehensively and pay close attention to potential fields within crime geography. The development of information technology and the application of econometric models have brought new opportunities for crime geography. We must strengthen research cooperation among individuals, organizations, and institutional groups, and exchange and share results and experiences based on the current international social environment. It is pertinent to explore diverse crime prevention and control models through a global cooperative approach to address crime challenges faced by different regions.

Key words: crime geography, research progress, crime distribution patterns, spatial prevention and control measures, CiteSpace, bibliometric analysis

CLC Number: 

  • D917.3