Innovative Ways Geographical Information Systems Are Cutting Down on Crime and Aiding Rescue Workers
From installing CCTV cameras in high-risk areas to redistributing manpower so more police officers are sent to places where crimes frequently occur, the law enforcement industry has instituted numerous techniques and strategies to reduce crime. Recently, several communities have worked with geographical information systems (GIS) to achieve the same goal in an updated way. GIS technology can provide high-tech maps created via tabular data and geographical characteristics. Police then use the results to track and minimize crime.
City Officials Rely on GIS Technology During a Challenging Baton Rogue Summer
This summer in Baton Rogue, Louisiana was an action-packed season that left the area’s officials dealing with the aftermath of an August flood, not to mention a day when a shooter killed a sheriff’s deputy and two police officers. To cope with the larger-than-normal workload, city representatives used GIS to keep tabs on crime scenes, car crashes, and even the locations of police cruisers.
IT professionals were also able to use technology to find out where most 911 and 311 calls came from, which helped them determine the damage caused by the aforementioned flood. Baton Rogue’s representatives say they want to continue depending on GIS, and were recently recognized by the Center for Digital Government for making good use of GIS tools.
Neighborhood Dwellers Can Spot Crime Trends
Representatives from the city of Naperville, Illinois will soon launch an interactive crime map built with GIS technology. Accessible to the public, it will provide time and location data associated with 20 types of crimes and traffic offenses.
The idea is that users will visit the site often enough to spot patterns in the types of wrongdoings that occur. Eventually, if people go to the map and see there has been an increase in vehicle vandalism, they might be more likely than normal to contact law enforcement when noticing suspicious persons lingering around parked cars, for example.
A Graduate Student Dispels a Theory About Staircases and Crime
Beginning in 1997, officials in Cincinnati, Ohio began getting rid of staircases because of a persistent belief that crimes were more likely to happen on or near them. Feeling doubtful about that claim, a student from Northern Kentucky University named Shane Winslow used GIS to plot points where crimes happened near existing staircases, or where sets of steps used to be. After analyzing the data, Winslow found there was no link between staircases and increased crime.
One of Winslow’s goals was to demonstrate how GIS could be applied to almost any field of study. Also, his story goes to show it’s possible to make a notable impact as a student anywhere in the world.
Maybe you’re an internet-based University of Southern California (USC) student taking a USC Online class while pursuing a graduate degree in Geographic Information Science and Technology and are interested in researching how GIS reduces crime on another continent. Winslow’s example proves the possibilities are nearly limitless as long as you’ve got the required motivation.
These are just three of the ways GIS has made a positive impact on the crime and rescue sectors. If this evidence is any indication, the future looks safer.