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Geography and Crime Dr Tim Hall

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1 Geography and Crime Dr Tim Hall
Department of Natural and Social Sciences University of Gloucestershire

2 Key Points Deviance and crime are enduring geographical concerns
Geographers engagement with crime has been partial / limited Crime is a significant aspect of contemporary globalisation worthy of geographical attention Timely to broaden geographers’ engagement with crime through a dialogue with criminology

3 Deviance and crime: enduring geographical concerns
University of Chicago Department of Sociology (1913) Robert Park / Ernest Burgess Crime, deviance, gangs, urban pathologies, ethnicity, poverty. The criminogenic city

4 Deviance and crime: enduring geographical concerns
Postmodern urbanism: the carceral / paranoid / fortress city The Los Angeles School: Mike Davis Ed Soja Michael Dear

5 Geographies of Crime 1970s mapping the location of offences – situational crime prevention (designing out crime) Geographical information systems Location of offenders residences – neighbourhood effects / criminogenic communities 1980s / 1990s: fear of crime

6 Failure to recognise presence of illicit actors in many processes studied by geographers:
Globalisation (organised criminal groups) Environmental degradation (illegal logging) Urban development in developing countries (organised criminal groups) Mineral exploitation financing conflicts / civil war (DRC – transnational mafias, warlords, militias)


8 Coltan

9 Democratic Republic of Congo
Civil war 1998  Approx. 7 million killed Largest conflict since World War II 95% of world’s coltan mined in DRC


11 Question 1 According to the journalist Misha Glenny in his book McMafia what proportion of global economic activity is accounted for by organised crime? A) 5 % B) 15 % C) 1 % D) 45 %

12 Organised crime = 15% of global gross domestic product – (Misha Glenny, (2008) McMafia: Crime without Frontiers) Drug trafficking estimated - 8 % of world trade Money laundering estimated 2 – 5 % of global GDP. Some estimates 10 % Estimates: 4 – 5 million people trafficked each year = profits of up to US$9.5 billion

13 Question 2 What countries are the following three organised crime syndicates associated with? The Triads; the Camorra; the Yakuza. Russia, Colombia and China Angola, Mexico and the UK China, Italy and Japan USA, Jamaica and Italy

14 The nature of criminal organisations
Characteristics of organised crime: Continuing organised structure Profit through crime Use of force or threat Corruption to maintain immunity Public demand for services Monopoly over particular markets Restricted membership

15 Images of organised crime

16 Images of organised crime
“The film of Gomorrah is savage, squalid, claustrophobic and relentless. The action is authentic, in gratifying contrast to the grotesque romance of films like The Godfather.” (Vulliamy, 2008: 10)

17 Activities of criminal organisations
Trafficking drugs (narcotics), weapons people (illegal immigrants, women and children), pharmaceuticals, nuclear materials, other: body parts, metals, precious stones / natural resources, stolen cars, art, antiques, rare animals and counterfeit goods

18 Activities of criminal organisations
Provision and control of illicit services, most notably, gambling and prostitution Cybercrime, robbery, kidnapping, extortion, corruption, piracy Crimes against the environment Money laundering Terrorism

19 The nature of criminal organisations
Different structures for different activities Robbery – small tightly knit group Smuggling – network with cellular structure Trafficking -big organisation / armed militias (from Serious Organised Crime Agency 2006)

20 Question 3 Look at the map of the global criminal economy (next slide). What are the main patterns that you can observe from this? You will have four choices.

21 Organised crime in the global economy (Van Dijk, 2007)

22 Question 3 Organised crime is distributed evenly around the world
Organised crime is only found in the less developed world Organised crime is found mainly in Russia and Italy Organised crime is distributed unevenly around the world

23 Organised crime in the global economy
‘Mobbed up’ regions Weak rule of law (i.e. failed and transitional states) Distrust of the state (i.e. Italy, Mexico) Inaccessible terrain (i.e. Peru) Corruption Easy access to weapons Technological advances Transnational networks

24 ‘Mobbed up’ regions Afghanistan - heroin production = 50% GNP  serious impacts on sovereignty and democracy (Aas, 2007: 125);

25 ‘Mobbed up’ regions Colombia: (1999) US$3.5 billion from cocaine exports = oil exports; more than twice as much as coffee exports (Bagley, 2005: 38)

26 ‘Mobbed up’ regions British Columbia (Canada): Cannabis production 5 % GNP; employment for = twice as many as logging, mining, oil and gas production (Glenny, 2008b; 2008c)

27 Crime and the process of globalisation
Globalisation and liberalisation of the world economy facilitated organised crime Deregulation of world banking system - money laundering Technology – cybercrime / money laundering Increased border security – people trafficking Creation of spaces for illicit activities (offshore financial centres) Growing global inequalities

28 Question 4 What are the names of Springfield Mafia boss ‘Fat Tony’s’ henchmen in The Simpsons? A) Spider, Little Tony and El Barto B) Snake, Lenny, Lou and Gil C) Legs, Louie, Icepick, and Johnny Tightlips D) Diamond Joe, Carl, and Snowflake

29 Scores = Italian Mafia Ranks
4 correct = Godfather or boss of bosses 3 correct = Capo Bastone or Underboss: 2nd in command 2 correct = Caporegime or Lieutenant 1 correct = Piciotto: Lower-ranking soldiers; enforcers 0 correct = A life of crime is not for you

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