New York Police Department precincts have dozens of “forbidden zones”—places where officers are not allowed to go. The list describes a few of these places as “cooping” locations, slang for secluded spots where police officers have been known to park their patrol cars and nap. (New York Times)
Use our resources to analyze your own community with mental maps.
- Read through our activity “Important Places in Your Community.” Adapt its questions for the New York Times article. Is the list of forbidden “cooping” locations in each precinct an example of a mental map? Why or why not?
- It’s a great example of a mental map of a community. Police precincts put together a list of places where police officers might be tempted to doze off in their patrol cars.
- Use graph paper to make your own “nap map.” Are there places in your own home where you are most comfortable dozing off? Where? Why?
- The “nap maps” described in the New York Times article are pretty low-key examples of the mental maps used by police officers. Most focus on safety. If you’re ambitious, take a look at these intense papers comparing police and resident perceptions of safety in urban areas (Phoenix (this one’s behind a paywall) and Los Angeles). What mental mapping features contribute to your idea of safety?
- Using the “Important Places in Your Community” activity, make a list of places where you feel safe. How do you think your mental map of safe areas compares with other people? With law enforcement?