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From Description to Prediction: Crime Mapping

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2001
4 pages
This article examines extending the use of crime mapping from reports, lists, and statistical tables to the interception of crime and the prediction of the next one through training programs, research, and the use of geographic information systems (GIS).
Nearly 70 percent of law enforcement agencies that employ 100 or more officers and 40 percent of agencies with 50 to 99 officers now perform mapping and analysis. However, because it is still new, most agencies use mapping and analysis in simplistic ways, such as monthly statistical reports and listing crimes. In addition to reports, mapping should entail locating more complex relationships, such as how crime and the environment affect each other or the relationship behind the crime and the suspect’s behavior. The goal is to intercept crime and make reliable predictions on further crime. To do this, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Crime Mapping and Analysis Program (CMAP) was established to provide free training in crime mapping and crime analysis with courses offered at the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Centers (NLECTC). In addition, research grants are available to support multi-jurisdictional data sharing projects through NIJ’s Crime Mapping Research Center (CMRC). The use of geographic information systems (GIS) technology is not new to criminal justice and can be used as a tool for, not only police departments, but for corrections and probation and parole agencies for assistance in daily operations in institutional and community settings.

Date Published: January 1, 2001