Seoul Crime Map Shows Rich Districts Aren't Safer

Living in an affluent neighborhood in Seoul is not necessarily a protection from crime, a study suggests. Kim Kyung-min and Lee Hae-in at Seoul National University on Monday unveiled a crime map of Seoul based on an analysis of 792,260 major crimes between 2005 and 2011.

It shows that parts of the city where housing prices are cheaper, like Dobong, Eunpyeong and Nowon districts, are safest from assault, murder, robbery, theft and rape.

In contrast, Gangnam district, which has the most expensive housing in the country, ranked a poor 13th in terms of safety.

Nowon ranked first among the city's 25 districts, followed by Dobong, Eunpyeong and Gangseo jointly in second place.

Kim and his research team based their study on what they call a "hot-spot index" tallying the frequency of major crimes per square kilometer of land in each district.

Seocho, which is among the three rich neighborhoods south of the Han River, ranked fifth in terms of safety, followed by Gangdong, Gangbuk and Songpa districts.

The most dangerous are Gwangjin, Guro and Geumcheon.

Kim said the study shows that "home prices and safety are not always proportionate."

"It appears that the concentration of the wealthy and big businesses in Gangnam district offered more targets for crime," Kim said. But he added that the high incidence of sex crimes there is also due to the concentration of red-light districts.

The crime map spanning a seven-year period is the first of its kind to use a hot-spot index.

Kim classified an area as a hot spot if it saw at least 105 assaults, 0.3 murders, 1.6 robberies, 69.7 thefts and 0.6 rapes per square kilometer. Statistical analysis showed that a higher number of crimes per square kilometer have a significant impact on its residents.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 24, 2013 09:21 KST