Greg Breetzke

email:                [email protected]
Tel:                    +27 (0) 12 420 4318
Office:               Geography Building 1-19
Consultation:     By appointment


Research profile

My research focuses mainly on the geospatial analysis of crime and criminal offenders. I am particularly interested in examining crime patterns and trends and how they vary across space and time. Other current interests include the development of indigenous theories of crime as well as examining crime as a development issue.

A secondary research interest of mine involves examining the different pedagogical approaches used to teach GIS in both secondary schools and in tertiary education institutions. This research interest was borne out of my previously involvement with GIS in schools in South Africa as well as my involvement in various local and international distance-based education initiatives.

I am a member of the American Society of Criminology (ASC), the Society of South African Geographers (SSAG), former Canterbury branch committee member of the New Zealand Geographical Society and founding student member of the Geographical Information Society of South Africa (GISSA).


  • PhD (Geoinformatics) – University of Pretoria (2008)
  • MSc cum laude (GIS) – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands) (2004)
  • BSc (GIS) Hons - University of Pretoria (2002)
  • BSocSci (Psychology) Hons - University of Pretoria (2002)

Courses presented

  • GIS 220 - Geographic data analysis
  • GIS 320 - Spatial analysis
  • GGY 710 - Geographical and environmental principles

 Research publications (journals)

Google Scholar H-Index | Google Scholar H-indexORCID ID 

  • Theron, K., Breetzke, G. D., Snyman, L., & Edelstein, I. (2023). A street segment analysis of crime in a township: Evidence from South Africa. Police Practice & Research, 24(5), 539-557, doi: 10.1080/15614263.2022.2147070

  • Groenewald, G., & Breetzke, G. D. (2023). A cross-national spatial study of crime using variables informed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). International Criminal Justice Review, 33(3), 313–329. doi: 10.1177/1057567722112527

  • Breetzke, G. D., Mosesi, N., & Bester, P. (2023). The ‘contestation of crime’: Using a spatial theory of crime to examine livestock theft in Swartruggens, North West province. South African Geographical Journal, 105:2, 262-275. doi: 10.1080/03736245.2022.2102062

  • Breetzke, G.D., Curtis-Ham, S., Gilbert, J., & Tibby, C. (2022). The Mongrel Mob or Head Hunters? The effect of neighbourhood-level factors on different types of gang membership. Journal of Criminology, 55(4) 433–450. doi: 10.1177/263380762211214

  • Breetzke, G.D., Curtis-Ham, S., Gilbert, J., & Tibby, C. (2022). The spatial distribution of gangs and gang crime in New Zealand: A national study identifying spatial risk factors. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 49(8), 1154-1172. doi: 10.1177/00938548211034200 

  • Potgieter, A., Fabris-Rotelli, I., Breetzke, G. D., & Wright, C. Y. (2022). The association between weather and crime in a township setting in South Africa. International Journal of Biometeorology, 66(5), 865-874. doi: 10.1007/s00484-022-02242-0 

  • Groenewald, G., & Breetzke, G. D. (2022). The vagaries of variables: Towards a standardised approach for variable selection in spatial crime research. Methodological Innovations, 15(2), 152-162. doi: 10.1177/20597991221091513 

  • Booi, L., & Breetzke, G. D. (2022). The spatial relationship between tuberculosis and alcohol outlets in the township of Mamelodi, South Africa. African Health Sciences, 22(2), 162-168. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v22i2.19

  • Modiba, J.Fabris-Rotelli, I.Stein, A., & Breetzke, G. (2022). Linear hotspot detection for a point pattern in the vicinity of a linear networkSpatial Statistics, 51,100693. doi: 10.1016/j.spasta.2022.100693 

  • Venter, Z. S., Shackleton, C., Faull, A., Lancaster, L., Breetzke, G. D. & Edelstein, I. (2022). Is green space associated with reduced crime? A national-scale study from the Global South. Science of the Total Environment, 825, 154005. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154005 

  • Breetzke, G. D., Hedding, D. W., & Pijper, L. (2022). The academic staff profile of Geographers at higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa: The challenges of transformation. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 46(2), 222-240. doi: 10.1080/03098265.2020.1856797 

  • Breetzke, G. D., & Edelstein., I. (2022). Do crime generators exist in a developing context? An exploratory study in the township of Khayelitsha, South Africa. Security Journal, 35(2), 1-18. doi: 10.1057/s41284-020-00264-0 

  • Sanciangco, J. C., Breetzke, G. D., Lin, Z., Wang, Y., Clevenger, K. A., & Pearson, A. L. (2022). Examining the relationship between city ‘greenness’ and homicide in the US: Evidence over a 30-year period. Environment & Behavior, 54(2), 538–571. doi: 10.1177/00139165211045095 

  • Kapwata, T., Breetzke, G. D., Wright, C. Y., Marcus, T., & Eales, O. (2022). Environmental health risk factors associated with self-reported tuberculosis in Gauteng, South Africa. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 26(1), 33-37. 

  • Dlamini, S., Tesfamichael, S., G., Breetzke, G. D., & Mokhele, T. (2021). Examining environmental attitudes and place attachment in Gauteng, South Africa: Evidence from the Quality of Life Survey. Geo-spatial Information Science, 24(4), 666-677. doi: 10.1080/10095020.2021.1976599 

  • Hedding, D. W., & Breetzke, G. D. (2021).  ‘Here be dragons!’ The gross under-representation of the Global South on editorial boards in Geography. The Geographical Journal, 187(4), 331-345. doi: 10.1111/geoj.12405 

  • Haywood, L. K., Kapwata, T., Oelofse, S., Breetzke, G. D., & Wright, C. Y. Kapwata, T. (2021).  Waste disposal practices in low-income settlements of South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 8176. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18158176 

  • Pijper, L., Breetzke, G. D. & Edelstein, I. (2021). Building neighbourhood-level resilience to crime: A case study in Khayelitsha, South Africa. South African Geographical Journal, 103(3), 342-357. 

  • Nivette, A.E., Zahnow, R., Aguilar, R. et al. (2021). A global analysis of the impact of COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions on crime. Nature Human Behavior. 5, 868–877.

  • Breetzke, G.D. , Fabris-Rotelli, I., Modiba, J. & Edelstein, I. (2021). The proximity of sexual violence to schools: Evidence from a township in South Africa. GeoJournal, 86, 765–776. 

  • Schutte, F., Breetzke, G.D. & Edelstein, I. (2021). The relationship between temperature and crime on the Cape Flats of South Africa. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 16(1), 127-145.

  • Kemp, N., Breetzke, G.D., & Cooper, A.C. (2021). Modelling the risk of robbery in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 48:1, 29-42.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Hedding, D.W. (2020). The changing and challenging research landscape in South  Africa. Studies in Higher Education, 45(11), 2245-2259.

  • Meyer, J.J., Schutte, C.E., Hurter, J.W., Galt, N., Degashu, P.M., Breetzke, G.D., Baranenko, D. & Meyer, N.L. (2020). The adhesive, hydrophobic and toxic latex of Euphorbia species is the cause of the Namibian fairy circles. BMC Ecology, 20:45.

  • Hedding, D.W., Greve, M., Breetzke, G.D., Nel, W., & Jansen van Vuuren, B. (2020). COVID-19 and the academe in South Africa: Not business as usual. South African Journal of Science, 116(7-8),

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2020). The importance of space and time in aggravated assault victimization. Journal of  Interpersonal Violence, 35(13-14), 2536–2557.

  • Breetzke, G.D., Pearson, A.L., Tao, S. & Zhang, R. (2020). City parks and gun violence in Detroit, USA. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 15(1), 247-264.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Edelstein, I.S. (2019). The spatial concentration of crime in a South African township. Security Journal, 32(1), 63-78.

  • Breetzke, G.D., Polaschek, D. & Curtis-Ham, S. (2019). Does crime count? Investigating the association between neighbourhood-level crime and recidivism in high risk parolees. Applied Geography, 102, 20-27.

  • Chersich, M. F., Swift, C.P., Edelstein, I., Breetzke, G.D., Scorgie, F., Schutte, F. & Wright, C.Y. (2019). Violence in hot weather: Will climate change exacerbate rates of violence in South Africa? South African Medical Journal, 109(7), 447-449.

  • Schutte, C., & Breetzke, G.D. (2018). The influence of extreme weather conditions on the magnitude and spatial distribution of crime in Tshwane (2001-2006). South African Geographical Journal, 100(3), 364-377.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2018). The concentration of urban crime in space by race: Evidence from South Africa. Urban Geography, 39(8), 1195-1220. 

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Hedding, D.W. (2018). The changing demography of academic staff at higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa. Higher Education, 76(1), 145-161.

  • Breetzke, G.D., & Andresen, M.A. (2018). The spatial stability of alcohol outlets and crime in post-disaster Christchurch, New Zealand. New Zealand Geographer, 74(1), 36-47.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Polaschek, D. (2018). Moving home: Examining the independent effect of residential mobility on recidivism in New Zealand. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 62(10), 2982-3005.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Pearson, A.L. (2018). The changing spatial distribution of alcohol outlets in a post-disaster city: The case of Christchurch, New Zealand. Urban Policy & Research, 36(2), 138-152.

  • Breetzke, G.D., King, M. & Fabris-Rotelli, I. (2018). The impact of the Canterbury Earthquakes on crime in Christchurch, New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 51(1), 135-156.

  • Cohn, E.G. & Breetzke, G.D. (2017). The periodicity of violent and property crime in Tshwane, South Africa. International Criminal Justice Review, 27(1), 60-71.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Hedding, D.W. (2016). The changing racial profile of academic staff at South African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), 2005–2013. Africa Education Review, 13(2), 147-164. (IBSS)

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2016). Examining the spatial periodicity of crime in South Africa using Fourier analysis. South African Geographical Journal, 98(2), 275-288.

  • De Roiste, M., Breetzke, G.D. & Reitsma, F. (2015). Opportunities across boundaries: lessons from a collaboratively delivered cross-institution Master’s programme. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 39(3), 470-477.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Pearson, A.L. (2015). Socially disorganized yet safe: Understanding resilience to crime in neighborhoods in New Zealand. Journal of Criminal Justice, 43 (2015) 444–452.

  • Pearson, A.L. & Breetzke, G.D. & Ivory, V. (2015). Is the effect of recorded crime on perceived safety different for those living in cohesive versus socially fragmented neighbourhoods? American Journal of Community Psychology, 56, 170-179.

  • Breetzke, G. D. & Pearson, A. L. (2015). Examining the neighbourhood-level predictors of fear of crime in Christchurch, New Zealand. New Zealand Geographer, 71(2), 91-104.

  • Lovasi, G.S., Goh, C., Pearson, A. L. & Breetzke, G.D. (2014). The independent associations of recorded crime and perceived safety with physical health for men and women in New Zealand. British Medical Journal (Open), 4:e004058.

  • Pearson, A.L. & Breetzke, G.D. (2014). The association between the fear of crime, and mental and physical wellbeing in New Zealand. Social Indicators Research, 119:281–294.

  • Breetzke, G.D., Landman, K. & Cohn, E.G. (2014). Is it safer behind the gates? Crime and gated communities in South Africa. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 29(1), 123-129.

  • Pearson, A.L., Ivory, V., Breetzke, G.D. & Lovasi, G. S. (2014). Are feelings of peace or depression the drivers of the relationship between neighbourhood social fragmentation and mental health in Aotearoa/New Zealand? Health & Place, 26, 1-6.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Pearson, A.L. (2014). The fear factor: Examining the spatial variability of recorded crime on the fear of crime. Applied Geography, 46(2014), 45-52.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Cohn, E.G. (2013). Sporting events and the spatial patterning of crime in South Africa: Local interpretations and international implications. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 55(3), 387-420.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Cohn, E.G. (2013). Burglary in gated communities: An empirical analysis using routine activities theory. International Criminal Justice Review, 23(1), 55-73.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Cohn, E.G. (2012). Seasonal assault and neighborhood deprivation in South Africa: Some preliminary findings. Environment & Behavior, 44(5), 641-667.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2012). Understanding the nature of crime in post-apartheid South Africa. Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation, and Culture, 18(3), 1-17.

  • Day, P., Breetzke, G.D., Kingham, S. & Campbell, M. (2012). Close proximity to alcohol outlets is associated with increased serious violent crime in New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(1), 44-50.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2012). The effect of altitude and slope on the spatial patterning of burglary. Applied Geography, 34(2012), 66-75.

  • Eksteen, S. & Breetzke, G.D. (2011). Predicting the abundance of African horse sickness vectors in South Africa using GIS and artificial neural networks. South African Journal of Science, 107(7/8), 1-8.

  • Breetzke, G.D., Eksteen, S. & Pretorius, E. (2011). Paper-based GIS: A practical answer to the implementation of GIS education into resource-poor schools in South Africa. Journal of Geography, 110(4), 148-157.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2010). A socio-structural analysis of crime in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 106(11), 1-7.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2010). Modeling violent crime rates: A test of social disorganization in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(2010), 446-452.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Horn, A.C. (2009). A geodemographic profiler for high offender propensity areas in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. Environment and Planning A, 41(1), 112-127.

  • Horn, C.A. & Breetzke, G.D. (2009). Informing a crime strategy for the FIFA 2010 World Cup: a case study for the Loftus Versfeld stadium in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. Urban Forum, 20(1), 19-32.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2008). Spatial is special: A socio-geographic profile of offenders in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. South African Geographical Journal, 90(1), 32-40.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Horn, A.C. (2008). Key requirements in the development of a spatial-ecological theory of crime in South Africa. South African Journal of Criminology, 21(1), 123-143.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2007). A critique of distance learning as an educational tool for GIS in South Africa. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 31(1), 197-209.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2006). Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and policing in South Africa: a review. Policing: An International Journal of Policing Strategies and Management, 29(4), 723-740.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Horn, A. C. (2006). Crossing the racial divide: a spatial-ecological perspective of offenders in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa. GeoJournal, 67(3), 181-194.

Research publications (book chapters, research reports, theses)

  • Breetzke, G. D., & Mosuwe, T. (2022). The necessary yet nebulous nature of the informal security sector in South Africa. In: Gill, M. (Ed.), Handbook of Security (3rd ed) (pp. 801-819). Palgrave.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2020).  Urban crime and spatiality in South Africa. In: R. Massey and A. Gunter (Eds.), Urban Geography in South Africa - Perspectives and Theory (pp.155-172). Springer.

  • Nunlall, R., Maluleke, W. & Breetzke, G.D. (2020). Crime Mapping. In: C. Bezuidenhout (Ed.), A Southern African Perspective on Fundamental Criminology (pp 542-571). Pinelands, Cape Town.

  • Breetzke, G.D. & Pearson, A.L. (2019). Alcohol availability and crime in post-disaster Christchurch, New Zealand: Implications for health in cities. In: Vojnovic I, Pearson AL, Gershim A, Allen A, Deverteuill G (Eds) Handbook of Global Urban Health (pp. 448-462). Routledge Publishers: Abington, UK.

  • Breetzke, G.D., Elley, B., & Gilbert, J. (2016). Post-quake analysis of crime and alcohol in Christchurch. Wellington: Health Promotion Agency.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2013). Mapping the location of fear of crime in Christchurch, New Zealand. Research report written for the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2013). Using Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to inform the Christchurch Central City rebuild. Research report written for the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

  • Breetzke, G.D., Pearson, A.L. & Conradson, D. (2013). Examining the relationship between recorded crime, the fear of crime and health in Christchurch. Research report written for the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2011). Violent crime in South Africa: Is the subculture of apartheid to blame? In: A. D. Morina (Ed.), pp. 43 – 68, Crime rates, types and hot-spots. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

  • Eksteen, S., Pretorius, E. & Breetzke, G.D. (2011). South Africa: Teaching Geography with GIS across diverse technological contexts. In:  A. J. Milson, A. Demirci, and J. J. Kerski (Eds.) pp. 225-233, International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS in Secondary Schools. New York: Springer.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2008). Geo-analysis of offenders in Tshwane: Towards an urban ecological theory of crime in South Africa. Unpublished PhD thesis at the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

  • Breetzke, G.D. (2007). Potential GIS-based applications for use by the South African Police Services (SAPS), PositionIT, July/August, 39-42.

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