3(f). Hypothesis Testing - Physical Geography

This article has discussed theories and concepts associated with the geographical behavior of criminals, with particular focus on four principal approaches: ecological school, environmental criminology, environmental psychology and the wedge theory. As previously mentioned, research into geographical profiling originated from the ecological approach and was concerned with the identification of crime areas in relation to offender demographics rather than the location of specific criminal events.
The environmental criminology approach provided a new perspective on the relationship between an offender’s home base area and the location of his or her offenses. Hence, it moved away from looking at the causes of crime and emphasized the importance of where victims are targeted and where crimes occur. Although the foundation on which environment criminology is built is entirely theoretical, it does suggests that criminals do have patterns in their spatial behavior, which could have implications for predicting future target areas. In a different vein, geographical profiling from the environmental psychological approach deals directly with the prediction of the likely behavior of the serial offender, as demonstrated in research on rape by Canter and his colleague. Environmental psychology holds more promise than previous nonpsychological-based geographical profiling methods.
The article has presented evidence suggesting that criminals have limited spatial knowledge, and that these patterns appear to be wedge-shaped. Such findings are in accord with a perspective that sees journeys to crime growing out of the daily activities and contact patterns of the offender. For example, when serial killers make environmental choices involving locational considerations, their mental maps are used as preferences as to which areas to forage for potential victims and dispose of their bodies. The fact that serial killers’ spatial behavior is sectorally biased suggests that police investigators are not dealing with economic killers, with perfect knowledge, but rather real individuals with imperfect knowledge and a predilection for satisfying behavior. Such a finding has direct implications for systems such as Rossmo’s criminal geographical targeting system, leading to the hypothesis that his procedure might be more efficient if it considered the directionality of crimes.
Admittedly, the interpretations of this article are ex post facto and one has to speculate if there are additional features of the criminal’s spatial behavior that can be predictive. Further research is needed to find out what additional psychological and environmental factors influence the geographical behavior of criminals.

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Geographic refers to spatial dimensions, particularly but not necessarily on Earth's land. Science refers to inferences about natural law based on either classical statistical hypothesis testing or Bayesian statistics. Non-science is the writing of opinions without reference to analysis of measured data. Science and literature are two types of art, art is a type of culture, culture is a type of human thought.

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There is a further complexity about environmental criminology, Rossmo’s geographical profiling model and the circle hypothesis processes to consider; that is, the hypothesized spatial models fail to take into account directional bias. For example, research in 1985 demonstrated that crime trips of suburban burglars are more likely to be skewed in the direction of nodal centers, such as workplaces and city central districts, and that crime trips were more likely to be wedge-shaped. Considering the plethora of research literature on the sectoral mental maps (directionality) of intraurban travel patterns and migration of people, the consideration of directionality in geographical profiling has been mute. One author argued that intraurban migration takes place in accordance with sectoral and directional biases in the urban spatial cognition. The findings suggested that intraurban migration patterns are sectorally biased towards the center business districts, in that they are wedge-shaped.
The theoretical analysis of people’s bonds with the tangible surroundings of the home environs is found in several disciplines; for example, migration and shopping behavior studies. It has been pointed out that, through daily travel, the home environment becomes a unique place of familiar, known and predictable activities, people and physical elements, a focal point of one’s experiential space. Thus, through habitual, focused and satisfying involvement in a residential locale, the tangible home area becomes an enduring symbol of self, of the continuity of one’s experiences, and of that which is significant and valued by the inhabitant. The landscape around the home base may thus be hypothesized to provide criminals with those enduring symbolic experiences. If their crimes, as hypothesized, do indeed develop as an elaboration of their daily activities, rather than as some distinct work-life activity, then it would be predicted that the home would be geographically as well as symbolically central to their criminal activities.

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