Radil: Gang Violence & Social Networks

The article by Radil and Al on gang violence in Los Angeles uses a social network approach to understand the patterns of violent crimes and territoriality in the the Hollenbeck area. it considers how rivalries between gangs (social connections) are perpetuated and what boundaries might separate them. The article uses information from the LAPD and other sources on gang violence to determine patterns. Considering the underground and illicit nature of gangs and violence, it opens the possibility for gaps in some areas of knowledge (i.e. relationships, activity and violent crimes LAPD are not aware of/not fully knowledgable of).

The article was very successful in finding a useful and interesting topic of study: gang violence and crime mapping are always a good way to showcase the Importance of GIS applications. Framing this within the context of social relations adds a new perspective to the crime mapping which helps to better understand the ‘Why?’ behind the locations of crimes. However, as the article explains; the study is limited in its scope; it does not provide a completely comprehensive list of details that would be relevant to mapping social interactions. By introducing topographic data, street data, land use data, population weights, etc. a more detailed and focused interaction map would be conceivable. Overall I felt that other important considerations could’ve been discussed in further detail to provide insight on their relevance to the study.

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