Computerized mapping is an ever-developing technology that assists many police departments in planning, operations, and crime analysis (McEwen & Taxman, 1995). Since the 1980’s there has been an increase in the development of statistical spatial tools along with a development of geographically weighted regression techniques (Ratcliff, 2004). These tools have helped with developing hot spots in crime mapping. Hot spots show the concentration of activities in certain geographical locations (McEwen & Taxman, 1995). Computer mapping allows for the examination of the spatial relationships among specific addresses where criminal activity occurs (McEwen & Taxman, 1995). This helps the police departments with knowing where they need to address specific issues, and how to deal with these issues in those areas. These statistical tools help to answer the question of, where the criminal events and incidents are happening on the map (McEwen & Taxman, 1995).
As stated, above crime mapping is very helpful to the Police because they can study crime maps and see what types of crimes are happening and where they are happening. I decided to look at my hometown of Charleston SC to see what types of crimes have been occurring in the area. There is a website that displays this information (www.spotcrime.com), and it is available to the public. This website has most cities listed in the United States as well. The crime map shows a map of the city and the types of crimes that are occurring and where they are occurring. I am quite sure that my police department has their own software for crime mapping. However, having this information available to the public does not take away the value of crime mapping and its value to the police department. For example, by looking at the map it shows areas where thefts have been occurring. With this type of information available to the police they can determine if they need more patrol cars in that area to possibly help in catching the perpetrator(s). This type of technology helps the Police to be proactive, and not just reactive. This crime map also shows many other forms of crime occurring in the area. It is fascinating to look at the information that is available.
“Find Crime in Your Neighborhood.” SpotCrime, spotcrime.com/.
McEwen, Thomas J, and Faye S Taxman. Applications of Computer Mapping To Police Operations, 1995.
Ratcliffe, Jerry H. “Crime Mapping and the Training Needs of Law Enforcement.” Crime and Technology, 2004, pp. 111–127., doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-2924-0_11.