Tale of Two Cities*
Ann Arbor to Baghdad
Sandra L. Arlinghaus
Baghdad, according to ElAyoubi, a crime prevention program was set in
place, about four years ago, under the direction of an expert in crime
prevention from Northern Ireland. The program began in
Baghdad. Some information is available on the Internet.
Recent press reports claim success for Neighborhood Watch programs in
and around Baghdad. ElAyoubi notes that while one might see large
superficial differences between the way that crime prevention is
implemented in Ann Arbor and Baghdad, that the conceptual base is
similar. Indeed, she also notes that in rural parts of the south
in the USA (particularly in states where a gun is just a natural part
of one's wardrobe) that for those US communities the implementation of
crime prevention is not all that different from Baghdad.
includes a number of different formats for displaying evidence:
- Climatic and weather systems including the water
cycle--rivers are important as both geographical "barriers to" and
"carriers of" goods and information. They are also traditional
chokepoints in the movement of military supplies and personnel.
From a crime prevention and neighborhood watch perspective, bridges
need to be
secured. The bridges of Baghdad are secured with
checkpoints. Nonetheless, there has been disaster: link to photo of damaged bridge; link to locational shot of bridge.
- Terrain and topographic formation--relate to river issues again,
especially as they might offer observational vantage points from the
highlands or hiding places behind bluffs.
- Changing natural resources distribution and utilization such as
movements of plants and animals both domesticated and wild--oil is a key player lurking in the
- Population settlements and movements such as urbanization
migration--ease of neighborhood watch formation may be reflected in
processes, particularly in Baghdad where recent immigrants may feel
ties to tribes
stronger than ties to Baghdad, which has recently experienced
burgeoning population growth. Tribal affiliation may suggest a
climate in which it is natural to introduce affiliation to other small
groups, such as neighborhood watch groups. Some of the regions
outside Baghdad in which there has been ongoing tribal turmoil are
precisely the regions in which recent neighborhood watch efforts have
been successful. Fallujah, Anbar (.kmz
file), and Diyala offer some interesting
examples. Inside Baghdad, some of
the most successful applications of neighborhood watch have been in
some of most violent sections of the city (Adhamiya).
- Family establishment and reproduction. The role
of women is critical, particularly when women are used by one group
to infiltrate another. Such an approach suggests a deep
understanding of directing the continuity of a broad system by
permeating it locally. Such orientation may facilitate the
implementation of crime prevention using neighborhood watch concepts.
- Political institutions' operation. International
cooperation was critical in establishing crime prevention in
Baghdad. The lead was taken by a crime prevention expert from
- Social institutions' operation. The strong role of tribal
structure may be important in structuring neighborhood watch, not
only in terms of respecting existing social boundaries, but also in
terms of harnessing existing patterns of allegiance to groups smaller
than broad religious or political groupings.
- Economic instutions' operation including land use systems'
operation. Locational strategy for checkpoints might well be
related to the road network. Google Earth offers interesting
views of traffic patterns in Baghdad.
- Maps which show the features of the areas where significant
events took place. A clickable
map outlines a neighborhood in Baghdad for the reader and links the
reader to a video of neighborhood watch in that region.
- Calendrical timelines showing the sequence of different kinds of
events at appropriate scales. The focus in this GEOMAT is on the
time period from 2002, when Baghdad suspended oil exports
for a month and U.S. President Bush
told the UN General Assembly
session to confront the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq--or stand
aside as the U.S. acts.
- Identification of specific events, especially landmark events
which irrevocably changed the situation being chronicled by the case
study. The landmark event here is the introduction of crime
prevention, by the expert from Northern Ireland, in 2004.
- Biographies, accounts, and images of human actors. For
these we are reliant on the second-hand account of ElAyoubi (who has
direct connection to the expert from Northern Ireland) and on materials
found on the Internet.
- Reports about and images of other actors such as plants, animals,
landscape features, terrain, mineral deposits, productive land use,
weather and climate.--Bridges reflect
climatic and associated drainage patterns. They are
communications chokepoints and need to be secured early-on, as in
Baghdad. Nonetheless, disaster can strike...bridge picture.
- Arrays of archival documents, records of messages exchanged, oral
history accounts and contemporary images. Linked materials are
present throughout this GEOMAT. Google Earth is helpful in
providing contemporary images, not only of terrain and buildings, but
also for associated photographs and commentary.
- Accounts of, documents and images from contemporary settlements
such as cities, towns, villages, resorts. Again, Google Earth is
useful and links to materials derived from that source are present
throughout this GEOMAT.
- Documents and images
from archeological sites and records of past
settlements.--in the case of Baghdad, tribal structure from the
rural area may transplant naturally to the urban setting, particularly
on the part of recent immigrants from rural areas. This derived
structure may help to serve as a basis for introducing neighborhood
Crime Prevention Specialist, City of Ann
Arbor Police Department