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What is Geospatial Crime Mapping?

Geospatial4Posted by Crime Tech Solutions with information gathered from Wikipedia.

Here’s a fact: Any understanding of where and why crimes occur can help prevent future crimes.

Mapping crime can help law enforcement protect citizens more effectively. Simple maps that display the locations where crimes or concentrations of crimes have occurred can be used to help direct patrols to places they are most needed. Policymakers can use more complex maps to observe trends in criminal activity; such maps can prove invaluable in solving criminal cases. For example, detectives can use maps to better understand the hunting patterns of serial criminals and to hypothesize where these offenders might live.

Products like CrimeMap Pro™ from Crime Tech Solutions are used by analysts in law enforcement agencies to map, visualize, and analyze crime incident patterns. It is a key component of crime analysis and the CompStat policing strategy. Mapping crime, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), allows crime analysts to identify crime hot spots, along with other trends and patterns.CrimeMapLite

Using GIS, crime analysts can overlay other datasets such as census demographics, locations of pawn shops, schools, etc., to better understand the underlying causes of crime and help law enforcement administrators to devise strategies to deal with the problem. GIS is also useful for law enforcement operations, such as allocating police officers and dispatching to emergencies.

Crime analysts use crime mapping and analysis to help law enforcement management (e.g. the police chief) to make better decisions, target resources, and formulate strategies, as well as for tactical analysis (e.g. crime forecasting, geographic profiling). New York City does this through the CompStat approach, though that way of thinking deals more with the short term. There are other, related approaches with terms including Information-led policing, Intelligence-led policing, Problem-oriented policing, and Community policing. In some law enforcement agencies, crime analysts work in civilian positions, while in other agencies, crime analysts are sworn officers.

From a research and policy perspective, crime mapping is used to understand patterns of incarceration and recidivism, help target resources and programs, evaluate crime prevention or crime reduction programs (e.g. Project Safe Neighborhoods, Weed & Seed and as proposed in Fixing Broken Windows), and further understanding of causes of crime.

The boom of internet technologies, particularly web-based geographic information system (GIS) technologies, is opening new opportunities for use of crime mapping to support crime prevention. Research indicates that the functions provided in web-based crime mapping are less than in most traditional crime mapping software. In conclusion, existing works of web-based crime mapping focus on supporting community policing rather than analytical functions such as pattern analysis and prediction.

What the heck do Crime Analysts do?

Posted by Crime Tech Solutions – Your source for analytics in the fight against crime and fraud.

NOTE: This great article is property of International Association of Crime Analysts and is posted in it’s original format HERE

What do Crime Analysts Do?

One: Finding Series, Patterns, Trends, and Hot Spots as They Happen

Crime analysts review all police reports every day with the goal of identifying patterns as they emerge. If a burglar starts targeting drugs stores in your jurisdiction, a crime analyst will let you know on the second incident. If domestic violence becomes a recurring problem in one family, an analyst will catch it. If your city, town, or county faces any emerging problem—youth disorder on a particular street, street robbery hot spots, new trends in fraud and forgery, a pattern of items being stolen from cars—your analyst can identify it and alert you about it as soon as possible.

Analyses of these trends, patterns, and hot spots provide you with the who, what, when, where, how, and why of emerging crime in your community. You can use this information to develop effective tactics and strategies, interceding as soon as possible, preventing victimization, and reducing crime.

Two: Researching and Analyzing Long-Term Problems

Crime analysis isn’t just about immediate patterns and series:analysts also look at the long-term problems that every police department faces. From a park that has been a drug-dealing hot spot for 20 years to a street that has a high number of car accidents to ongoing issues with crime and disorder at budget motels, a crime analyst can take it apart, explore its dimensions, and help the police department come up with long-term solutions.

Three: Providing Information on Demand

How often have you been frustrated getting the information you need from your records management or CAD system? Crime analysts know how to extract data from records systems, ask questions of it, and turn it into useful information. They know how to get data from other sources, and how to work with it. They know how to create charts, maps, graphs, tables, and other visual products.

Whether you need a list of all the incidents of youth violence over five years, or a chart showing trends in OUI arrests, or some statistics on motor vehicle citations, or a map showing an upcoming parade route, or an estimate of how many officers you’ll need in five years if current population trends continue, a trained crime analyst can put it together quickly and clearly.

Four: Developing and Linking Local Intelligence

Since September 11, 2001, we hear a lot about the need for intelligence. But what is it? And what does it have to do with local police departments?

Intelligence describes special information about criminals and criminal organizations: their goals, their activities, their chains of command, how money and goods flow through them, what they’re planning, and so on. Analyzing intelligence data on national and international problems is generally the responsibility of national and international agencies, but local police departments and local analysts play an important role.

First, as information synthesizers, crime analysts often know when local information or intelligence fits with state, national, or international intelligence. If the FBI issues a bulletin stating that terrorists are using forged passports from Belgium, your analyst will know to pay special attention when one of your reports mentions a Belgian passport. If a state agency issues a report on motorcycle gangs, your analyst can integrate that with your own police reports. In the post-September 11 world, you’re bombarded with information from multiple agencies at multiple levels; with a crime analyst, you have someone who can sift through this information and extract what’s relevant to your agency.

Second, your crime analyst can apply criminal intelligence analysis tactics to your local problems. Do you need a link chart showing the relationships between members of a local street gang? Or a carefully-crafted timeline for a court presentation? An analyst is trained in such techniques.

Five: Making Your Department Look Good

A crime analyst makes you and your agency look good to the public and to local government officials. You’re fully informed about a crime pattern before the press calls about it. The analyses, statistics, and charts on your web site and in printed publications convey that you are on top of crime and disorder. And when someone wants some information—whether a town selectman looking for statistics on juvenile liquor parties or a reporter looking for the top accident hot spots—you can provide it completely and quickly.

Crime analysts can also enhance the things you already do. Their desktop publishing skills can breathe new life into your reports, newsletters, and alerts; their graphing and charting skills can spice up your community presentations and budget requests; and their overall analysis and communications skills means that you always have someone on hand to explain crime and disorder—whether in meetings, interviews, or formal presentations—to the members of the community you serve.

How Can Crime Analysis Help Police Reduce Crime?

Pic005Posted by Crime Tech Solutions

The following article was published just over a year ago HERE by Dr. Laura Wyckoff, a Fellow at Bureau of Justice Assistance. We think it is worth exploring:

“Focusing resources on high-crime places, high-rate offenders, and repeat victims can help police effectively reduce crime in their communities. Doing so reinforces the notion that the application of data-driven strategies, such as hotspots policing, problem-oriented policing, and intelligence-led policing, work. Police must know when, where, and how to focus limited resources, as well as how to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies. Sound crime analysis is paramount to this success.

What is crime analysis exactly? Crime analysis is not simply crime counts or the change in crime counts—that is just information about crime and not an analysis of crime. Crime analysis is a deep examination of the relationships between the different criminogenic factors (e.g., time, place, socio-demographics) surrounding crime or disorder that helps us understand why it occurs. Sound crime analysis diagnoses problems so a response may be tailored to cure it, or reduce the frequency and severity of such problems.

Data-driven policing and associated crime analysis are still in their infancy and are not typically integrated into the organizational culture as well as traditional policing strategies. Many agencies are still not aware of the advantages of an effective crime analysis unit, and others may not have the resources or knowledge to effectively integrate one. Of those that do employ crime analysis, many may not fully understand or accept this approach, or use it to its potential.

Additionally, police command staff typically are not analysts, so they may be unaware of how to guide this work to provide “actionable” crime analysis products that can be helpful for crime reduction efforts. At the same time, analysts are usually not police officers and may not be aware of how police respond to crime problems (both tactically and strategically), or what types of products will be most useful.

To be more effective at combating crime using data-driven strategies, we need to overcome these barriers and knowledge gaps. That is why the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) established the Crime Analysis on Demand initiative. This initiative has a number of training and technical assistance opportunities focused on increasing crime analysis capacity in agencies across the nation. BJA’s National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is providing police agencies access to crime analysis experts that provide recommendations, training, and technical assistance to help agencies improve their application of crime analysis.

Additionally, the Police Foundation’s recent Crime Mapping and Analysis News publication provides a synopsis of the different services offered through this initiative. Other resources for crime analysis can be found on the International Association of Crime Analysts and the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts’ web sites.”