Crime has a primarily geographical characteristic. Given that, for a crime to arise, it entails the convening of a fitting target and a criminal at a specific location. Crime mapping has been developed by law enforcement agencies to allow them to directly analyze and employ information related to the inherent geography of each crime.
By appreciating a location’s basis and the significance of other geographical factors that give rise to why crimes takes place, criminologist and other analysts in law enforcement agencies are able to present very important indications that contributes to the enhancement on how they take action to crime problems, as well as how they capture criminals. The law enforcements’ reactions could consist of those specific to partnership and policing approaches to crime reduction, as well as the maintenance of other area based programs such as neighborhood restoration.
Crime mapping has long been an essential component of the practice known at present as crime analysis. An essential element to crime mapping is a geographical information system. A geographical information system is not simply a device used to generate hotspot maps, since it allows a number of diverse layers of area based information to be placed over with crime information. At present, approximately 13 percent of law enforcement agencies are regularly using the geographical information system to evaluate their crime problems (Harries,1999, p. v).
Moreover, it is expected that the aforesaid percentage will significantly increase as the growing number of law enforcement agencies start using computerized crime mapping in order for them to be more aware and get to the bottom of the crime problems within their respective areas (Harries,1999, p. v). The Practice of Crime Mapping Like other types of visualization, maps are the product of scientific activity that include theory formulation, information gathering, investigation, assessment of outcomes, and conclusion of whether the primary theory should be admitted or disallowed in support of an adapted version.
Criminal mapping, in particular, is a scientific activity that involves the implementation of the more extensive scientific field of cartography, which has gone through a transformation in the course of the arrival of geographic information systems (Harries, 1999, p. 4). At the present, maps can be created more effortlessly because computer technologies has effectively liberated law enforcements to generate other types of graphics as they deemed necessary, such as pie charts, scatter diagrams, and bar charts.
Crime mapping supports several courses of action that include directing and responding law enforcement’s information collection, and calls for service; updating law enforcements by identifying recently transpired crimes in the neighborhoods that they have patrolled or are soon to patrol, along with what may develop in the future; identifying crime hotspots for deploying, targeting, and assigning appropriate responses for crime reduction; helping to effectively recognize the crime allocation and investigate the dynamics, mechanisms, and initiators to criminal activity by means of examining the pattern with other local information; arresting serial crime offenders; assessing the outcome of crime reduction programs; and employing maps as a means to discuss crime information to public for their respective neighborhood and the responses that are being executed that deal with the crime problems. Criminologist and other analysts consider time as an essential element in crime mapping because of the time-structured way in which things are designed in law enforcement agencies.
The agencies have represented time in crime maps in numerous ways, including: when and where the crime incidents transpired; the length of time a series or occurrence of crime persisted in a particular area; the distance standardized by time; and the predetermined, maximum acceptable response time or the maximum distance reasonable for law enforcement to arrive at the crime scene (Harries, 1999, p. 11). In addition, the maps presented the law enforcements with an extensive collection of information, including but not limited to direction, distance, location and pattern showing area or position data. 1. From the crime analysts’ perspective, location is perhaps the most crucial of all the information embodied or collected from a map (Harries,1999, p. 18).
For them, familiarity on where crimes have occurred or may occur in the future is the most desired and potentially useful information in view of the fact that it provides them with several suggestions for the distribution of community and patrol resources, in addition to effectiveness of policies and planning in the given area. 2. Distance comes to life when translated with the distance where the crime occurred from the victim’s residence; the maximum distance police vehicles can travel within a particular metropolitan setting to offer adequate response; and the distance a suspect could have traveled in a certain time (Harries, 1999, p. 18).
3. Direction is used by the criminologist and other analysts in a generally descriptive perspective, by identifying the spreading of a particular hot spot to a certain direction, or the emergent of a particular district into a high-crime area (Harries, 1999, p. 18). 4. Pattern is an essentially valuable concept since so much of what crime analysts perform demands evaluating and describing the pattern of crime incidences. Pattern can be an influential investigative tool given that the way arrangements of incidents are positioned may inform crime analysts something about the progression impelling the aforesaid arrangements (Harries, 1999, p. 18).
Several of crime mappings are dedicated to identifying high-crime-density neighborhoods or hot spots. The expression “hot spot” has become part of the crime analysis word list and has obtained a great deal of interest (Harries, 1999, p. 112). Hot spot analysis helps law enforcement to become aware of types of crime being perpetrated, high-crime areas, and the most excellent method of action to take. For crime analysts, the map’s visual display of the crime pattern should be unswerving with the nature of hot spot and impending police action. Of the law enforcement departments that perform computer mapping, 77 percent carried out hot spot analyses (Harries, 1999, p. 115).
Of the aforesaid percentage, 86 percent acknowledged hot spots visually, and 25 percent employed a program to carry out this undertaking (Harries, 1999, p. 115). Solutions to public safety and crime problems demand an integration of policy, technology, practice and research (U. S. Department of Justice, 2008). Currently, law enforcement agencies regularly employ mappings to facilitate them in solving crime and other problems concerning public well-being. Developments in geographic technologies are helping law enforcement agencies to critically examine policies in criminal justice, efficiently position resources for public safety, and to completely comprehend crime.
Developments in geographic technologies are, in one case, starting to aid law enforcement agencies in completely understanding traffic safety problems and to verify resources, examine enforcement, and inspect traffic guideline more decisively (U. S. Department of Justice, 2008). Conclusion The map is the outcome of a sequence that commences with the law enforcer’s initial response to information that is processed by data entry staff, recorded into a database, and converted into a symbol on paper. Nowadays, on account of desktop computing, it is more uncomplicated to set up a publication-quality graphic map. To take out as much significance as possible to crime mapping, the combination of technologies and data are continually pushed to the frontier.
As such, law enforcements are now more aware of why particular areas generate more criminals than others, why specific areas serve as well-liked locations for criminals offend, and why particular people or places are more at risk than others. Moreover, as a result, law enforcement are becoming more proficient in their policing; more successful in getting behind the causes of crimes; as well as more successful in devising crime reduction initiatives, operational policing, and deterrence responses. References Harries, Keith. (1999, December). Mapping Crime: Principle and Practice. U. S. Department of Justice. Retrieved February 16, 2009, from http://www. ncjrs. gov/pdffiles1/nij/178919. pdf U. S. Department of Justice. (2008, December 10). Crime Mapping Research Conferences. Retrieved February 16, 2009, from http://www. ojp. usdoj. gov/nij/maps/welcome. htm