The Use of Crime Mapping With Policing, Courts and Corrections

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TheUse of Crime Mapping With Policing, Courts and Corrections


Crimemapping entails a tool used by policing agencies and other securityagencies within the criminal justice systems, and other researchersin helping to visualize location of maps by use of computers softwareand hand called the geographical information system (GIS). The Frenchsociologists, Adolphe Quetelet and Andre Guerry in the mid-17thcentury initiated the use and practice of spatial analysis and crimemapping. Consequently, the advancement of time made their ideasadaptable in the then developing countries of the world. Sociologistsat the University of Chicago in the early 20th century initiated theprinciples of crime analysis and mapping in the United States(Paulsen,et al, 2009).The courts, police organizations and other criminal agencies resultedto adapting crime mapping to help fight crime and enhance securityover the years.

TheIllinois Crime Survey of Homicides that took place in the city ofChicago in the late 20s was one of the earliest authorized forms ofcrime mapping within the United States (Paulsen,et al, 2009).The researchers were able to produce and reproduce homicide patternsby the use of mapping pins. However, it was not until the mid-1960sthat there was the first use of computerized mapping which occurredin St. Louis (Paulsen,et al, 2009).It was not until 1997 that the federal government officiallyrecognized utilization and value of crime mapping and in turnestablished the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The NIJdedicated funding to the newly created mapping body called theMapping and Analysis for Public Safety (MAPS) (Paulsen,et al, 2009). MAPS works a clearinghouse of data for crime mapping-relatedinitiative, funding, practice, software, research and conferences.

Numerousif not all police department across the globe have adopted the use ofcrime mapping. Pattavina(2015) explains that the crime mapping software is by far one of themost important technological advancements in law enforcement. Policedepartments now have the ability and capability of tracking the typeof criminal activities occurring within a given jurisdiction as wellas the time, date and the exact geographical location of the crime.Additionally, through plotting where and when crimes are takingplace, law enforcement executives can make use of the resultingvisual data in helping them identify crime hubs. Consequently, thedepartment with the information received can dispatch undercover oruniform patrol officers to the areas marked as the hotbed of criminalactivities and terror (Pattavina,2015).The police also use the software as a reporting tool because of itsability and capabilities to generate crime reports and statisticsrequired in the fulfilling of Uniform Crime Report (UCR).

Policeunits in the United States have often agreed to the fact that themapping software is increasingly becoming sophisticated and morecritical to agency operations. Consequently, the policingdepartments will have to hire more trained and apt professionalcriminal analyst terror (Pattavina,2015).The criminal intelligence analysts are gradually becoming a necessaryresource in the dynamic policing department to help maximize the useof the mapping software. With vast expertise in the utilization ofthe mapping software, the criminal intelligence analyst willcontribute to bringing discernment into cybercrime mapping and alsohelp in the facilitation of the sharing of criminal intelligenceacross different agencies terror (Pattavina,2015).Crime mapping has in many ways contributed to revamp the policingsystems across America with each department now having specific andunique responsibilities.

Probationofficers service areas are one of the means through which crimemapping has its application in the courts if law. The distribution ofcaseloads can have its management by observing the geographicalposition of parolees and probationers, and then encompassing amapping program in helping to determine the most effectual route forsequencing home visits, that is if the visits are part of the dutiesof the probation officer terror (Pattavina,2015).If visitations to the homes of the parolees have to occur at aparticular time, a route can be worked out to reduce the time spenton moving from one address to another. If that is not a factor, therecan be the establishment of a route in helping to minimize theoverall travel time (Paulsen,et al, 2009).However, the development of community probation have made it possiblefor officers to have assignments to smaller and manageable communityareas with which they can have closer contact with communityresources and probationers terror (Pattavina,2015).The crime mapping software is useful in helping draw districts on thebasis of the caseloads.

Prisonlocation analysis is one other use of the mapping software in thecorrection department. The booming industry of the penitentiarybuilding in recent decades has frequently been running into the NIMBY(not in my back yard) menace (Maltz,et al., 2010).It almost certain that everyone agrees with the fact that prisonshave to be built but for some reason very few communities are willingto put up with the idea of prisons next to their doors. However, themapping software specifically the prison location analysis might bethe solution. The software encompasses the use of location modelingin helping to map a vacant land and help redevelop it for buildingsites then adding execution layers to help in identifying the siteswith the greatest development potential (Maltz,et al., 2010).The sites can undergo thorough review and prioritization with furtherand enhanced field investigation or map analysis.

Anothercriterion for identifying a highly potential land for construction ofcorrectional facilities could as well be the distance of the sitefrom the communities that have the highest supplies of intimates(Maltz,et al., 2010).It is a known fact that penitentiaries far away from their feedersocieties tend to make checkup cumbersome and may tend to fragmentrelatives. Decreasing travelling time may be a thoughtfulconsideration for both the families of the inmates and the courtsystems as well as the department of corrections because transportingof prisoners to and from localized and remote court offices will actto increasing travelling cost and time (Maltz,et al., 2010).The accessibility of a prison to a given courthouse can have itsevaluation by the use of ArcView Network Analyst, one of the examplesof the crime mapping software.

Anotheruse of the offense mapping within the corrections departments is thelocation of parolees and probationers. The mapping of the householdaddresses of probationers and parolees, together with the modusoperandi facts, will go a long way in enabling law enforcement toquickly identify potential perpetrators and parolees of particularcriminal activities occurring in the neighborhood (Maltz,et al., 2010).That sort of criminal study is an important part of the progressivelypopular and widely used ComStat (computer statistics) process whichhas its origins from the New York Police Department, whereby theprecinct officers have to regularly answer on regular crime patternswithin their jurisdictions. There is usually a big screen which oftenlinks to the GIS and can immediately display the location of theparolees with their offense location.

Mappinghousing types and demographics may also go a long way in helping withthe site selection of the halfway house location. For instance, aBaltimore community needed persuasion on the need of the halfwayhouses within its neighborhood after they had vowed not to allow itsconstruction (Maltz,et al., 2010).The developed strategy involved geocoding the location of all homesof the Maryland prison convicts who initially hailed from themunicipal in question. The maps then went on ahead to show where eachand the very prisoner had lived. During municipal presentation, itbecame evidently difficult for the community residents to opposehosting people that were original inhabitants of the community(Maltz,et al., 2010).Consequently, crime mapping will go a long way in helping in thedevelopment of such residential facilities through zoning variance.

Offenderaccess services is one other way through which crime mapping mightcome in handy in the corrections department. A recent study showedthat the accessibility of reform and rehabilitative amenities forreleased crime lawbreakers has its inclination towards the spatialrelationship between substance abuse reform facilities, inmateaddress, mental health services, inmate addresses as well as theunemployment offices (Maltz,et al., 2010).The study further established that more than half of the criminaloffenders released from prison take less than three years to return,concluding that there is inadequate post-prison recuperation or theyare at all inaccessible (Maltz,et al., 2010).Consequently, mapping came in handy in helping in the implementationof post-prison rehabilitation services in an effort of helping thereleased offenders shun from engaging in criminal activities thatwould take them back to jail.

Courtshave been known to occasionally use mapping applications to deal withthe need of ensuring there is fair sentencing. Although there hasbeen a reduction of judicial discretion by mandatory sentencing, itselimination has not been complete and there remains substantialdisparity in sentencing of similar crimes for different people(Perry,2013).Like the police departments, courts in both the Federal and Statesystems have their own jurisdiction. The use of crime mapping in formof the mapping sentence has often proved to be more challengingcompared to mapping crime incident data. However, it is possiblethrough the use weighting systems which assigns higher weights to thesevere sentences, ensuring that analysis of the offense and offendercharacteristics are controlled for adequately (Perry,2013).Additionally, mappings can have their application in courts byproviding comprehended visual interpretation of a given criminalprocess by the use of events and patterns. Mapping presentations incourts may have their construction on any given scale ranging frominternational crime to a murder scene in a small dingy room.

Crimemapping primarily relies on arrest data and call for service, policedata. The data used for crime mapping must have, at the very least,incident type, a particular location, and the date and place of theoccurrence. The accuracy of the data is of paramount prominence aswithout accurate data there is no meaningful analysis. Moreover,before the mapping of the crime location, there must be carefulprocedures in place which will guarantee the precision of the datarecorded and the scrupulousness of the recording process. Formisconduct mapping to be utterly beneficial for the police, courts,and the corrections departments, there must be databases that willintegrate helpful and accurate information from the different source,with proper supporting infrastructure and efficient and reliablemethods of information distribution to the relevant departments.


Maltz,M. D., Gordon, A. C., &amp Friedman, W. (2010).&nbspMappingcrime in its community setting: Event geography analysis.New York: Springer-Verlag.

Pattavina,A. (2015).&nbspInformationtechnology and the criminal justice system.Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

Paulsen,D. J., Robinson, M. B., &amp Paulsen, D. J. (2009).&nbspCrimemapping and spatial aspects of crime.Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Perry,W. L. (2013).&nbspPredictivepolicing: The role of crime forecasting in law enforcementoperations.

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