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UP Diliman and crime hotspots (2006-early 2008). Image from [1].

UP Diliman and crime hotspots (2006-early 2008). The Chapel and its vicinity, Engineering parking, Vinzons Hall, FC/CAL and Palma Hall. Image from [1].

Last October 16, a faculty member of the University of the Philippines was robbed/ abducted as she was opening her car at the Palma Hall (AS) parking lot around 4:30 pm [inquirer.net].

This event reminds me of a Master’s thesis presentation I attended more than 4 years ago.  In that presentation, the researcher showed specific features of the built environment that weaken safety and security on campus [1]. Her area of study was UP Diliman. One of the crime hot spots in her study was Palma Hall including its parking area.

I will not summarize her thesis here; it is about 300 pages long. In fact, I will only be posting the crime hot spots that she obtained in her analyses, the characteristics of these hot spots and some recommendations. The thesis has much more meat in it like how land use planning, transportation accessibility and other environmental factors might affect the occurrence of crime. The thesis also lists recommendations. It’s available in UP’s library.

(A) Palma Hall and  (B) Vinzon's Hall. The Palma Hall is a dispersed hotspot while the Vinzon's Hall is a hotpoint.

The Palma Hall (A) is a dispersed hotspot while the Vinzons Hall is a hotpoint (B). Image from [1].

Hot spots can be spatially dispersed, clustered or a hot point (i.e., the crimes are near or at the same spot every time). Moreover when considering the occurrence of crime, hot spots can be diffused, focused or acute. Crimes in diffused hotspots happen at equal probabilities throughout the day, focused when there is a higher probability in certain times and acute when the crimes occur only at a particular time interval.

The table below shows the five hot spots in UP Diliman from 2006 to mid 2008, each characterized by type. 

Spatial, Temporal, and Concentration Characteristics of Hot Spots,  UP Diliman, 2006 to mid-2008 from [1].

Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of Hot Spots,
UP Diliman, 2006 to mid-2008 from [1].

According to the thesis, more incidents happen during the day because of the high number of potential targets.

“Knowing the spatial, temporal and concentration patterns of crime will allow authorities to identify what procedures may be implemented to reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of crime,” writes the researcher. Some suggested measures are given in the table below.

Examples of Measures based on Spatio-Temporal Characteristics  from [1].

Examples of Measures based on Spatio-Temporal Characteristics from [1].

“Note that the strategies cited  (given at the table above) are just examples and are not held as empirically proven measures in similar crime-prone areas in UP Diliman or elsewhere,” adds the researcher.

The study was done in 2008-2009. But crimes, which are happening now, are still occurring in the same hot spots determined by the researcher. I hope that there will be new analyses of spatial and temporal patterns of crime in UP to update the study.

The study highlights the use of science in dealing with problems such as crime systematically.



[1] Morta, A. R. (2009). The Influence of the Built Environment on Safety and Security in a University Campus: An Assessment of Land Use, Accessibility, and  Design. Master’s Thesis, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quenzon City.