Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Quetelet, Adolphe: Explaining Crime Through Statistical and Cartographic Techniques
Elizabeth R. Groff
Adolphe Quetelet was one of the first to explore official data on populations and crime. He is best known in criminology for his application of statistics and maps to describe crime patterns and trends in locations and the characteristics of offenders (using the term social mechanics) . His important findings regarding the spatiotemporal distribution of crime provide the foundation for criminologist's interest in crime and place. Finally, as Terence Morris notes, his shift in emphasis from criminal motivation to crime as primarily a socioeconomic phenomenon with individual behavior as one element set the stage for the development of opportunity-based theories of crime such as routine activity theory and environmental criminology. Quetelet made his contributions to criminology before the discipline officially existed. He was born in Belgium and worked in 1820s France/Belgium during a period of social unrest that culminated in the French Revolution. When he began his career, information on ...