FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENIJ
January 27, 2000202/307-0703

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT UNVEILS NEW CRIME MAPPING TO AID OFFICERS ON THE BEAT

WASHINGTON, DC - A new, innovative crime mapping program, designed to assist law enforcement officers in their community policing efforts, has been unveiled by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Justice Department's research arm. The program, the Community Policing Beat Book, is designed for use in the field on a laptop or in-car computer or at the police station to give an officer access to electronic maps that display pertinent crime-fighting information.

The Beat Book will provide officers access to electronic maps of the community that can display information such as land-use, demographics, businesses and landmarks, as well as crime incident sites. The Book also provides the officer a variety of methods to find a location by address, street intersection, block number(s), street name or map feature. The program provides police with the ability to create and manage their own data, such as a list of informants along with their areas and locations.

"This new program will provide local law enforcement with a valuable crime-fighting tool," said Jeremy Travis, Director of NIJ. "The addition of the Community Policing Beat Book will enhance community policing, which has already been shown to be highly successful in the reduction of crime." Crime mapping assists law enforcement to protect citizens more effectively in the areas they serve. Maps that display the locations where crimes or concentrations of crimes have occurred are used to help direct patrols to places they are most needed. Law enforcement officials can also use more complex maps to observe trends in criminal activity, which may prove invaluable in solving criminal cases. One example of the effectiveness of such maps provides law enforcement personnel with an understanding of the patterns of serial criminals and to hypothesize where these offenders might live.

"NIJ's Community Policing Beat Book is a serious tool for street officers," said Tom Casady, Chief of Police in Lincoln, Nebraska. "Even novices can use the application with just a few minutes of training."

The Beat Book, which can be downloaded for free from NIJ's Crime Mapping Research Center (CMRC) Website at www.esri.com/industries/lawenforce/beatbook.html#download, was developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) in cooperation with the CMRC. A number of law enforcement agencies participated in the technical development of the program's software.

NIJ's Crime Mapping Research Center (CMRC) was established in 1996 and promotes the research and development of crime mapping and evaluates best practices. CMRC also focuses on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) use in police departments and current criminal justice applications and needs. The Center is also developing training programs, a national data archive, and new software; as well as disseminating crime mapping information through conferences and workshops. The Center serves as a clearinghouse for crime mapping research and development across the nation, and coordinates with the Crime Mapping and Analysis Program, which offers hands-on crime mapping training through the NIJ-funded National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center in Denver, CO and Charleston, SC (www.http://www.nlectc.org/nlectcrm/cmap.html).

More information about the National Institute of Justice Crime Mapping Research Center and the Community Policing Beat Book is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/maps/ Information about other Office of Justice Programs (OJP) bureaus and program offices is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/

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For Information contact: Liz Pearson at 202/307-0703.