Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (10): 1710-1720.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201610004

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The distribution environment of robbery, snatch and theft crime based on space syntax: A case study of the central area of Wuhan

ZHENG Wensheng1,2, ZHUO Rongrong1,2, LUO Jing1,2, YU Bin1,2, WANG Xiaofang1,2()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory for Geographical Process Analysis & Simulation, Hubei Province, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China;
    2. Academy of Wuhan Metropolitan Area, Hubei Development and Reform Commission & Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China;
  • Received:2015-05-19 Revised:2016-05-03 Online:2016-11-28 Published:2016-11-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41001100, No.41371183, No.41671179 Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of Ministry of Education in China, No.15YJCZH174 Fundamental Research


By integrating spatial configuration and environmental criminology theory, this study tentatively constructed a theoretical framework for elucidating crime distribution environment based on space syntax. Address-level crime data from law court was used to interpret the distribution environment of robbery, snatch and theft crime. The central area of Wuhan was taken as a case study area, and several typical crime spaces were analyzed for further empirical studies. This research showed the following four results: (1) Under the macroscopic space, crime hot spots are closely associated with crime attractors, which are the spontaneous emerging urban nodes in spatial configuration. (2) The accessibility of urban nodes that link the macroscopic spaces with the microcosmic ones, has an impact on the cost of arriving at and escaping from crime locations and the risks of failure. (3) Under the microcosmic space, the "spatial gap" generated by the separation of global and local space, creates potentials for criminals' spatial exploration. Meanwhile, homogeneous use of space intensify crime concentration with high integration. (4) By forming the social structure and territoriality of a community, the topological depth of space influences the defense space. In conclusion, the proposed space syntax method provides a theoretical and technical support for systematically elucidating the breeding environment of criminals, the stimulation environment of criminal motive, the criminal activation environment and the constrained environment for preventing criminal activities.

Key words: robbery, snatch and theft crime, space syntax, distribution environment, Wuhan