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Crime Mapping: New Tools for Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Irvin B. Vann; G. David Garson
Date Published
160 pages
This book describes the implementation and integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into law enforcement and crime analysis.
GIS technologies as an indispensable analysis tool with multiple applications. This book explains that GIS consist of a constellation of hardware and software integrating computer graphics and relational databases for the purposes of managing and displaying various data about geographic locations, and notes that spatial databases are essential components of crime analysis. The Crime Matching Research Center (CMRC) was founded in 1997 as a part of the National Institute of Justice in order to promote the use of crime mapping in America’s law enforcement agencies and departments. A discussion of the use of automated pin maps for crime analysis is followed by a description of the use of “hotspot” mapping in order to combat crime. A discussion of crime density mapping, briefing maps, and various privacy issues is followed by a discussion of the ways in which crimes are managed with spatial tools such as orthophotographic mapping and buffering and proximity analysis. The use of mapping in community-oriented policing is also highlighted in this book as are the ways in which spatial situational and historical analysis may be used in order to model crime patterns. The authors indicate that GIS has become an integral part of police strategy and decisionmaking processes since the 1970’s because of the effectiveness of crime mapping. Following a discussion regarding public concerns with crime mapping, including worries over “redlining” certain dangerous neighborhoods, the authors suggests that crime mapping will become even more central to law enforcement operations in the future. A list of law enforcement Web sites with crime maps completes this book.