Image Credit: ddaftl.org

Image Credit: ddaftl.org

The following article was written by Dr. Shawn Schwaner, 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.