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Identifying the Promise of GIS for Government: Crime Reduction

Avatar of Lindsey Tepe
Lindsey Tepe

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The GovLoop report, Identifying the Promise of GIS for Government, focuses on best practices, case studies and identifies innovative uses of geographic information system (GIS) technology in government. Across government GIS technology has fueled innovation. Often implemented in tandem with other initiatives, GIS is a critical component to help government solve some of its most pressing challenges.

In our report, Identifying the Promise of GIS for Government, GovLoop conducted a survey from our community identifying lessons learned and best practices for GIS initiatives. You can review the complete findings of the survey by viewing the guide below.

Last week, Steve highlighted the lessons learned from Health & Human Services and GIS initiatives. This week, I’ll be recapping some unique uses of GIS technology for crime reduction. For an even greater look into using GIS for crime reduction, as well as additional case studies, check out the complete report:

Download PDF Here or View Online Below

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology has been the catalyst for much of the recent innovation in crime control and prevention. This critical public service has always been reliant upon information and intelligence gathering and mapping, but GIS software provides a platform for considering many variables affecting crime simultaneously.

The initial use of crime data mapping had been limited to charting location and time of a crime. GIS software allows users in state and local government in the police department to plot crime, both in terms of time and place. Doing this, they are able to analyze the data and determine patterns of criminal behavior within the city. They can do this for many types of crime, including burglary, car theft, and more. Because of the analysis of these patterns, police departments are able to better identify patterns of criminal activity.

These are some examples of cities that have created mash-ups of traditional and non-traditional police data to predict and prevent crimes:

Shelby, North Carolina: Developed CrimeStat to allow the police force to map things such as the location of where stolen vehicles are stolen and recovered and crime density.

Ogden, Utah: Launched a multi-mission Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) which linked data sets within several different databases, including camera systems, crime databases, and vehicle tracking.

Minneapolis, Minnesota: The city has combined data sets with locations of liquor stores, public libraries, public parks, and bus route locations to better identify patterns of gun-related crimes, including robberies, shootings, gun- theft and illegal possession.

Arlington, Texas: The Arlington Police mapped building code violations along with the locations of residential break-ins to better anticipate new burglary hotspots. The resulting maps demonstrated a high correlation between dilapidated structures and break-ins, and are now being used to designate “fragile-neighborhoods”, working with other government agencies to clean them up.

Memphis, Tennessee: Mapping the lighting of neighborhoods, as well as proximity to concert venues and other non-traditional data, the city was able to spot connections between this information and criminal behavior.

Fore more GIS examples that promote crime reduction, as well as some interesting blogs and videos GIS related, check out the full analysis in our GovLoop Guide.

When Esri was founded in 1969, it realized even then that geographic information system (GIS) technology could make a difference in society. GIS helps people to solve problems at local, regional, national, and global scales. Access maps and apps at ArcGIS.com. Check out the Communications & Citizen Engagement Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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Avatar Image Barbara Wilson

GIS Crime Mapping is where I have wanted to apply my GIS knowledge and experience. It is hard to get employment in that field. But it is good to see GIS is alive and well in Crime Analysis!

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