The spatial patterning of emergency demand for police services. A scoping review.


This preregistered scoping review provides an account of studies which have examined the spatial patterning of emergency reactive police demand as measured by calls for service data. To date, the field has generated a wealth of information about the geographic concentration of calls for service, but the information remains unsynthesised and inaccessible to researchers and practitioners. We code our literature sample according to the types of demand studied, the spatial scales used, the theories adopted, the methods deployed and the findings reported. We find that most studies focus on crime related call types using meso-level spatial scales. Descriptive methods demonstrate the non random distribution of calls, irrespective of their type, while correlational findings are mixed, providing minimal support for theories such as social disorganization theory. We conclude with suggestions for future research, focusing on how the field can better exploit open data sources to scale up analyses.

Crime Science