Crime in Argentina

As a follow-up to my post on crime patterns in Chicago, I wanted to do something similar for Argentina. I couldn't find data at the same level of detail, but the people of Junar, who develop and run an Open Data platform, were kind enough to point me to a few data sets of theirs, including one that lists crime reports by type across Argentinean provinces for the year 2007.

The first issue I wanted to see was the relationship between different types of crime. Of course, properly speaking you need far more data, and a far more sophisticated and domain-specific analysis, to even begin to address the question, but you can at least see what types of crime tend to happen (or to be reported) in the same provinces. Here's a dendogram showing the relationships between crimes (click to expand it):

As you can see, crimes against property and against the state tend to happen in the same provinces, while more violent crimes (homicide, manslaughter, and kidnapping) are more highly correlated with each other. Drugs, which may or may not surprise you, are more correlated with property crimes than with violent crimes. Sexual crimes are not correlated, at least at the province level, with either cluster or crimes.

This observation suggests that we can plot provinces on the property crimes/sexual crimes space, as they seem to be relatively independent types of crime (at least at the province level). I added the line that marks a best fit linear relationship between both types of crime (mostly related, we'd expect, through their populations).

A few observations from this graph:

  • The bulk of provinces (the relatively small ones) are on the lower left corner of the graph, mostly below the linear relationship line. The ones above the line, with a higher rate of sexual crimes as expected from the number of property crimes, are provinces on the North.
  • Salta has, unsurprisingly but distressingly, almost four times the number of sexual crimes than expected by the linear relationship. Córdoba, the Buenos Aires province, and, to a lesser degree, Santa Fé, have also higher-than-expected numbers.
  • Despite ranking fourth in terms of absolute number of sexual crimes, the City of Buenos Aires has much fewer than the number of property crimes would imply (or, equivalently, has a much higher number of property crimes than expected).

Needlessly to say, this is but a first shallow view, using old data with poor resolution, of an immensely complex field. But looking at data, through never the only or last step when trying to understand something, it's almost always a necessary one, and it never fails to interest me.