Articles | Volume 59, issue 3
30 Sep 2004
 | 30 Sep 2004

Affective dimensions of urban crime areas : towards the psycho-geography of urban problem areas

W. K. D. Davies

Abstract. Traditional studies of crime areas within cities by geographers focus on the spatial variations in the incidence of crime, as well as the social deprivation and social disorganization of these areas. Although these social content and behavioural features are often highly correlated with crime areas. it is argued that analytical studies of crime areas need to be extended to deal with the feelings and attitudes of people in these areas.Ten separate dimensions of the affective domain are hypothesized, each of which describes different feelings and attitudes that characterize crime areas. These can be called «terrains of distinctive affective characters», namely: social inadequacy; despair or limited goals; exclusion and discrimination; acceptance of decay and destruction; anxiety and fear: spontaneity of actions and emotions: indifference to others; low selfcontrol and restraint; approval of subversive or deviant values; and peer group allegiance in gangs. Confirmation of these dimensions must wait for empirical testing but they point the way to the systematic development of a psycho-geography of crime areas in which the dimensions can be linked to different theories of criminal behaviour.