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Testing a Geospatial Predictive Policing Strategy: Application of ArcGIS 3D Analyst Tools for Forecasting Commission of Residential Burglaries

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2014
427 pages
This study examined the relationship between "natural surveillance" - one of the least studied principles of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) - and burglary in three-dimensions.

The author believes this to be the only study that has objectively quantified the natural- surveillance concept of "eyes upon the street" in three dimensions and then compared the degree or intensity of natural surveillance with the occurrence of burglaries. At the building-opening level, the findings determined that burglary commission through such openings was significantly associated with lower degrees of occupant surveillibility within all distance measures of surveillibility. This finding is consistent with a previous study that hypothesized occupants' surveillibility to be related to a house's vulnerability to burglary (Brown & Altman, 1981). When building openings were distinguished as door and window openings, burglary commission through doors was significantly associated with higher degrees of road surveillibility within 49 feet of door openings. Burglary commission through windows was significantly related to lower degrees of occupant surveillibility based on distance and not on street segment. This finding is consistent with previous work that shows positive relationships between the degree of intervisibility between windows and burglary commissions (Van Nes & Lopez, 2010). The findings of the current study are unique, because other studies did not examine whether the degree of natural surveillance differs between burglarized and non-burglarized building openings. Using a mixed methods research design, qualitative and quantitative data were obtained, using ArcGIS glossarial tools for processing spatial and crime data in three dimensions. The ESRI ModelBuilder was used to automate the enumeration of natural-surveillance intensity. Implications are drawn for criminologists, architects and planners, and residents of communities. 115 tables, 106 figures, approximately 160 references, and appended supplementary information on methodology

Date Published: December 1, 2014