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US study aims high-tech mapping of violence in Mexico

US: A University of Alabama at Birmingham associate professor of anthropology, Chris Kyle, PhD, has been awarded a $40,000 research grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. The award will partially fund a yearlong sabbatical during which Kyle will write a book on the spatial analysis of criminal violence in Guerrero, Mexico. Kyle’s research, examines violent crime in a state that, although the size of West Virginia, has seen more than 11,000 homicides since 2007. As part of his analysis, he has created and maintains a database of homicides within the area. Using GIS mapping software, he is able to plot events on a map and to analyse spatial and temporal patterns in the incidence of violent crimes. This is among the first and most ambitious attempts to understand varying ways organised criminal violence in contemporary Mexico is embedded in the specific social settings in which it occurs.

Current map used by Professor Kyle draws from press reports, blogs and other sources to build these records that include: thousands of homicides, hundreds of arrests, violent confrontations among civilians and security forces, drug and weapons seizures, marijuana and poppy eradication efforts, and scores of kidnappings, extortion demands and instances of population displacement. During his sabbatical, Kyle will examine regional variation in the incidence of violent criminality and the comparative efficacy of the various state and non-state strategies that have been adopted to suppress it.

Source: UAB