Using Crime Mapping Software To Assist Crime Victims
James Meeker  -  2010/10/20
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
Can you explain how you used crime mapping with DV cases?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 If you could provide your email I could send you a couple of posters that I have presented with my students at the American Criminological Society meetings where we have used mapping to show the spatial locations and clusters of DV cases in Santa Ana CA.
 
 
How can my victim services program partner with a law enforcement agency that compiles crime mapping data? What should we focus on?
 
1.  Leslee
 Many agencies are on www.crimereports.com as well. Thjis could be a great starting place for you.
 
2.  James W. Meeker
 I would first check to see what information your local police department provides for on line and check http://www.crimemapping.com to see if your police department is already participating. After you know what you police department is making available to the public I would then contact the Chief to see if he would be willing to provide the data that you seek. You should be specific in your request, for example does your program focus on DV victims, you would want DV data rather than all Part 1 crimes.
 
3.  James W. Meeker
 Most crime mapping data comes from local police departments. Check to see if your local PD publishes their crime data on line. Most don't but a few are very good. For example see Redlands CA PD's web site for an example http://www.ci.redlands.ca.us/police/crime_analysis.htm You might also want to check www.crimemapping.com that posts a number of crime statistics in a mapping form for many police departments across the nation
 
 
How can this crime mapping effort be applied to local, state, national, and international border cold case investigations? How could this become a real tool to investigators and victim families to resolve issues in cold cases?
 
1.  Robert J Louden
 It may also be useful to contact the local FBI Field Office Resident Agency & the FBI Behavioral Science Unit at Quantico.
 
2.  James W. Meeker
 This is a difficult one and a satisfying answer does not come easily. I would check the NIJ Mapping and Analysis for Public Safety web site http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nijmaps and search their documents on using mapping for serial criminals. Using mapping technology to check for patterns over large areas or over time has the potential to help with cold cases. However keep in mind that NIJ did not seriously start pushing mapping technology until the mid 90s with the Mapping Center. The number of police agencies seriously using this technology before then was limited. Consequently I am not sure how helpful this technology would be for really cold cases (prior to the mid 90s). You might check NIJ's publication on cold cases http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/222903.pdf however this publication does not have much on mapping per se. Usually DNA is seen more useful for this problem.
 
 
Since this is National Safe Schools Week, could you comment on how this technology could interface with other technologies such as interoperable radio communications or surveillance systems in order to improve school safety? Do any examples come to mind in the school safety areas of prevention, preparedness, response, or recovery?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 First I would check the publications listed on the NIJ Geography & Public Safety Bulletin http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/maps/bulletin.htm. That gives a number of examples of using GIS to increase neighborhood safety which probably could be employed to schools. I would think mapping the location of monitoring systems would give a good indication of what areas are monitored and what areas are not so that blind spots could be systematically identified. I saw a student project done recently here at UCI where all the emergency phone locations on campus were mapped helping to identify what areas of the campus needed more phones.I am not very knowledgeable about radio interoperability but I would think mapping the jurisdictions of different agencies and the frequencies they use would give a good spatial view of identifying areas that have frequency overlap versus areas that don't.
 
 
How can we work victim services into our crime mapping efforts? I am curoius as to what geographical information would be useful in these efforts. Are we talking oure service or are we working into crime prevention?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 Some how my reply to this was lost. In an effort for a shorter reply I would check this site http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/maps/reduce-crime.htm It gives some good examples of mapping and crime prevention.
 
 
Please explain how you use this technology to assess legal needs.
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 Lori, One of the best overviews of this question can be obtained from the Office of Inspector General for the Legal Services Corporation. They did an Evaluation of Legal Services Mapping and I did an evaluation of the project.See http://www.oig.lsc.gov/mapping/mapping.htm. Most studies of civil legal needs have found approximately 1 need per poverty household per year, so by mapping census poverty data (households at 200 of the poverty level) you get an approximate idea on how legal needs in an area are distributed.
 
 
Would you pleaes explain how you will be a able to utilize crime mapping & GIS with VNS (Victim Notification System) ?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 I think my original answer to this was lost so I will try again. My understanding of VNS is limited but relying on http://www.justice.gov/criminal/vns/about/doj-avns.html these systems provide information on court events and offender custody status and release. If it will provide release address data then it could be used. For example I once did a project with student to determine if parolees were more or less likely to be released into neighborhoods that were hot spots of gang activity. A similar type of analysis could be done with sex offenders and the neighborhood characteristics of where they are released.
 
 
How does crime mapping in support of victims differ from crime mapping in support of law enforcement personnel?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 PDs generally use crime mapping for tactical purposes, for checking recent trends, and some times for accountability and performance assessment(for example CompStat see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompStat). Mapping for support of victims is often used more for identifying areas for out reach. It can also be used in documenting level of need in applying for grant support of services. For examples of how mapping has been used for delivery of legal services for the poor see http://www.oig.lsc.gov/mapping/mapping.htm
 
 
How can this help with gang problems in the community?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 Ed, It is very useful in terms of tracking hot spots (changes over time, variations for different crimes), crimes inside versus out side of known territories. Check out chapter 10 in http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/190351.htm. Also there has been some work with using GIS to identify areas for civil injunctions against individual gang members.
 
 
Are you utilizing any GIS applications/tools?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 Christine, I use GIS for two main purposes. One to join different data sets to analyze with different statistical tools, for example to combine crime data with census data to explore the effects of poverty and social density on crime with structural equation models. I also use Kernal density analysis within GIS to define statistical hot spots of activity, like concentrations of DV cases and compare this to other data such as court issued TROs to determine potential areas for outreach by organizations like legal aid.
 
 
How do i get started using the crime mapping software. I am affiliated with a non-profit group trying to prevent/report/monitor human trafficking.
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 George NIJ provides a number of training opportunities see http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/maps/training/welcome.htm You might also try your local university or college to see if they offer GIS training. Also depending on the specific software you are using different vendors offer different training opportunities
 
 
Exactly which statistical crime data (list data categories) is best utilized when coordinating all types of crime victim and survivor services in high crime counties?
 
1.  James W. Meeker
 I am not really sure how to answer this one. To use GIS you need location data, the more exact the better. However if you are comparing countries perhaps specific location is not necessary unless you also want to identify where in the comparison countries crimes and victimization are occurring. It all comes down to the question you are trying to answer, if you are only comparing countries knowing exactly where in the country is not as important.
 
Return to Discussion