Sunday, April 10, 2016

Morbid Mapping

Everything has a geography. Well, everything that varies spatially -- which is almost everything.

And for every kind of geography, there is -- or should be -- a geographer. The clandestine disposal of murder victims is no exception.

Last year, we were talking with a friend about Serial, a podcast that explored a story in-depth over an entire season, each part of the report being released weekly. The first season gained a loyal audience, including our household. We were especially interested because it focused on the murder of a student at the high school from which my wife Pamela had graduated. Woodlawn High School -- just a few blocks outside the city of Baltimore -- had always had a tough reputation. The allegation that one student had been murdered by another -- her boyfriend -- had our attention.

Discussing the case with a local friend who was going to be marrying into a Baltimore family, we let her know a little bit of geography that everyone in Baltimore knows: where to bury a body. She tried a little geographic experiment at our request. She texted her fiance the question: "If you had to bury a body in Baltimore, where would you do it?"

We told her what his answer would be, and that he would probably not spell it correctly. Right on both counts. Everyone in Baltimore knows it is Leakin Park, but everyone also thinks it is called Lincoln Park.
Click to enlarge
Blogger Cham Green researches and speaks publicly about crime in and around his city. He has taken particular interest in the victims discovered in Leakin Park -- over 70 since 1946 -- and in using Geographic Information Systems to document them. He credits local journalists and the Enoch Pratt Free Library for assisting in his effort.


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