Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kenneth Foote

Second Advisor

Fernando Riosmena

Third Advisor

Joe Bryan


This study looks at perceptions of safety and danger regarding crime in Medellín, Colombia. I used two different datasets to look at this issue in both the specific situations that incite fear of crime and in the broader context of perceived safety and danger across the city as a whole. The first dataset comes from 42 interviews that I conducted with university students in May of 2009. The interviews consisted of a set of semi-structured questions followed by a cognitive mapping exercise, where I used a participatory mapping approach that I call interview mapping to record the participants‘ spatial perceptions of safety and danger across the city. The second dataset is the 2008 Quality of Life survey (ECV) conducted by the municipality of Medellin, which I used to rank the level of perceived security for each neighborhood in the city. Survey respondents were asked how they feel in their neighborhood regarding security on an ordinal scale from very safe to very dangerous. These two datasets provide different perspectives from which people perceive safety and danger in Medellin; the first being a perspective looking outward across the entire city and the second looking inward on one‘s neighborhood. Using fuzzy set theory in a qualitative GIS framework, the data were integrated to show the areas where perceived safety or danger corresponded between the interview and survey datasets. The results of this analysis identify the areas in the city which are perceived to have the highest and lowest levels of crime related danger.