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Texas State publishing collaboration launches 'Texas Crime Atlas'

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
February 19, 2014

Texas Crime Atlas

The Center for the Study of the Southwest (CSSW) at Texas State University has embarked on a new publication initiative with Texas Crime Atlas, an eBook collaboration with the Texas Atlas Project, headed by Lawrence Estaville of the Department of Geography.

Taking advantage of cost-savings available through electronic publication, the CSSW hopes to make available to academics and the general public scholarly, peer-reviewed works at a nominal price. Texas Crime Atlas serves as proof of concept for this goal.

Texas Crime Atlas is the third volume in the Texas Atlas Project’s series, which in the future will include volumes on education, music, sports and the military.

Jesús F. de la Teja, director of the CSSW, accepted the challenge from Estaville to transform the atlas project. The first two volumes of the atlas project, on health and water, were published by Texas A&M University Press.

"Because of the graphic nature of the content, we hope to add interactive features as the technology for the delivery of publications becomes increasingly sophisticated," said de la Teja.

In Texas Crime Atlas, Estaville, along with geographers Kristine Egan and Kim Rossmo, map state crime as well as the crimes of nine of Texas’s largest cities: Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Laredo, Lubbock and San Antonio. These maps put Texas crime into context, comparing 2007-2008 to 2009-2010 and illustrating population density, ethnicity, income, home ownership and education alongside crime rates. The maps, rendered in full-page color, also break down crime rates into specific offenses: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.

Through case studies, Texas Crime Atlas explores the new geographic tactic of applied crime mapping, which has immense potential for shaping police and political policies. By applying the technique of geographic profiling to the unsolved murders attributed to the Austin Ripper in 1884-1885, the authors offer probable locations for the criminal, who was never apprehended. In another case study regarding 21st-century border control, the authors use the technique of kernel density to show where favorable geographic features combine to create probable "hot spots" of illegal border crossing for both immigrants and criminals.

The information in Texas Crime Atlas’ state and city maps, as well as the case studies that demonstrate how these data can be applied, make Texas Crime Atlas a resource for law enforcement agencies, policymakers, researchers, university students and the general public. The book concludes with a timeline of major and sensational crimes in Texas, from the nineteenth century to today.

Estaville is professor of geography and director of the Texas Atlas Project in the Department of Geography at Texas State. Including Texas Crime Atlas, he has published eight books and 47 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Numerous international, national and state professional organizations have invited him to give presentations.

Egan is a geographic information system senior data analyst with the City of San Antonio and a lecturer with the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is co-author of Texas Health Atlas and was the project manager for Texas Water Atlas.

Rossmo is the University Endowed Chair in Criminology and the director of the Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation in the School of Criminal Justice at Texas State. He has researched and published in the areas of environmental criminology, the geography of crime and criminal investigations. Rossmo is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Advisory Committee for Police Investigative Operations. He has written books on criminal investigative failures and geographic profiling.

For more information or to obtain a copy of Texas Crime Atlas ($19.95, 257 pp., ISBN: 978-0-9912548-0-4) visit www.txstate.edu/cssw/publications/crime-atlas.html or contact the Center for the Study of the Southwest at (512) 245-2224.