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Geospatial Analysis Center

GIS and Criminology

GIS is a valuable resource in multiple aspects of law enforcement. Officers, crime analysts, and managers can benefit from GIS by using the technology to help with analysis, operations, investigations, planning and administration. GIS has been used with crime and investigative analysis, intelligence, data fusion, mobile mapping, traffic analysis and accident trend analysis. The improved ability to analyze data with GIS allows resources to be allocated where they are needed most, which increases efficiency and saves money.

Following are recent examples of how GIS is integrated into various aspects of the field of Criminology:

  • The Philadelphia Police Department organizes historic incident records with GIS in order to analyze crime rates and patterns
  • Portland, Oregon uses GIS for everything from resource tracking and incident analysis, to community policing and investigations
  • The Police Department in Columbia, South Carolina, is using GIS to look at crime patterns and allocate resources where they are needed most
  • The Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center uses GIS to assess infrastructure and protection needs
  • Probationer pathways are being tracked with GIS in New York City. Understanding these pathways helps with investigating repeat offenders and drug trafficking

Crime density map

Crime points overlaid on a heat map to show crime density


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