Crime Mapping and Analysis

Law Enforcement Agencies Look to Maps and Geographic Technologies

Police line do no cross tape

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Geography is a field that is ever-changing and ever-growing. One of its newer sub-disciplines is crime mapping, which uses geographic technologies in order to aid in crime analysis. In an interview with Steven R. Hick, a leading geographer in the field of crime mapping, he gave a thorough overview of the state of the field and what’s to come.

What Is Crime Mapping?

Crime mapping identifies not only where the actual crime took place, but also looks at where the perpetrator “lives, works, and plays” as well as where the victim “lives, works, and plays.” Crime analysis has identified that the majority of criminals tend to commit crimes within their comfort zones, and crime mapping is what allows police and investigators to see where that comfort zone might be.

Predictive Policing Through Crime Mapping

The use of predictive policing is a much more cost-effective approach to policing than past policies. This is because predictive policing not only looks at where a crime is likely to occur but also when the crime is likely to occur. These patterns can help police identify what time of day it is necessary to flood an area with officers, rather than flooding the area twenty-four hours a day.

Types of Crime Analysis

Tactical Crime Analysis: This type of crime analysis looks at the short-term in order to stop what is currently taking place, for example, a crime spree. It is used to identify one perpetrator with many targets or one target with many perpetrators and provide an immediate response.

Strategic Crime Analysis: This type of crime analysis looks at the long-term and on-going issues. Its focus is often on identifying areas with high crime rates and problem-solving ways to decrease the overall crime rates.

Administrative Crime Analysis This type of crime analysis looks at the administration and deployment of police and resources and asks the question, “Are there enough police officers at the right time and place?” and then works to make the answer, “Yes.”

Crime Data Sources

Crime Mapping Software

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Careers in Crime Mapping

There are classes available in crime mapping; Hick is one professional who has been teaching these classes for several years. There are also conferences available for both professionals and beginners in the field.

Additional Resources on Crime Mapping

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is a research agency of the United States Department of Justice that works to develop innovative solutions to crime.